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Full text of "German disruption of Soviet Command, Control and Communications in Barbarossa, 1941"

NPS-56-84-001 



NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL 

Monterey, California 




GERMAN DISRUPTION OF SOVIET 
COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS 
IN BARBAROSSA, 1941 



RUSSEL H. S. STOLFI 

LONNIE 0. RATLEY, III 

JOHN F. O'NEILL, JR. 

DECEMBER 1983 



Approved for public release; distribution unlimited 

Prepared for: Director, Net Assessment 

Office of the Secretary of Defense 



FEDDOCS 
D 208,14/2: 
NPS-56-84-001 



' / 



NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL 
Monterey, California 



Commodore R. H. Shumaker David A. Schrady 

Superintendent Provost 

The work reported herein was supported by the Director, Net Assessment, 
Office of the Secretary of Defense. 



Unci assi fied 



SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF. THIS PAGE 'HTirn Data Entered) 



t/i 



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REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE 



READ INSTRUCTIONS 
BEFORE COMPLETING FORM 



I. REPORT NUMBER 

NPS-56-84-001 



2. GOVT ACCESSION NO. 



3. RECIPIENT'S CATALOG NUMBER 



4. TITLE (and Subltile) 



German Disruption of Soviet Command 

Control, and Communications, in Barbarossa, 1941 



5. TYPE OF REPORT ft PERIOO COVERED 

Special Report on Russo- 
German Campaign, 1941 



S. PERFORMING ORG. REPORT NUMBER 



AUTHORC*) 



8. CONTRACT OR GRANT NUMBERfal 



Russel H. S. Stolfi 
Lonnie 0. Ratley, III 
John F. O'Neill , Jr. 



9 PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME AND ADDRESS 

Naval Postgraduate School 
Monterey, California 93943 



10. PROGRAM ELEMENT. PROJECT, TASK 
AREA 4 WORK UNIT NUMBERS 



II. CONTROLLING OFFICE NAME AND ADDRESS 

Office of the Director of Net Assessment 
Department of Defense, The Pentagon, 
Washington, D. C. 



12. REPORT DATE 

January 1984 



13. NUMBER OF PAGES 

257 



14. MONITORING AGENCY NAME ft AOORt3SC// dltterent trom Controlling Office) 



IS. SECURITY CLASS, (at thle report) 

Unclassified 



15a. DECLASSIFICATION/ DOWNGRADING 
SCHEDULE 



16. DISTRIBUTION ST A TEMEN T (oi this Report) 

Approved for public release; distribution unlimited 



17. DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT (oi (he ebmtract entered In Block 20, It dltlerent from Report) 



18. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES 



19. KEY WORDS 'Continue on reverse aide II neceeaary and Identity by block number) 

1. Command, Control, & Communications (C^) 

2. Russo-German Campaign, 1941 

3. Operation Barbarossa 

4. Eastern Front 

_JL Disruption 



20. ABSTRACT (Continue on reverae aide II neceeeary and Identify by block number) 

The authors examine the German plans for Operation Barbarossa and the combat 
operations of the first five weeks of war in the East in June-July. The 
Germans achieved enormous success in the opening stages of the offensive in- 
cluding the shattering of Soviet command, control, and communications (C-3). 
The purpose of the study was to determine the means by which the Germans 
disrupted Soviet C^ and the resulting possible use of Barbarossa as a model for 
the Soviets in disrupting NATO C^ in the opening stages of a Warsaw Pact 
offensive in Central Europe today. The study is based on interviews with 



DD 



FORM 
I JAN 73 



1473 EDITION OF 1 NOV <J5 IS OBSOLETE 

S/N 0102-014- ftrt(i| i 



Unclassified 



SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF THIS PAGE (When Data Entered) 



Unclassi fied 



(uCU>MTV CLitll'lOfiON 0» TmiI •tg(im aa r>. 



German participants in Barbarossa and documents in the federal German military 
archives at Freiburg. The study supports the following generalizations: 

(1) The German planners of Barbarossa did not have sufficient intel- 
ligence of the Soviet armed forces, their relatively primitive C^ system, and 
the communications system of the Soviet states to consider as a vital part of 
their planning the deliberate paralysis of the Soviet armed forces. 

(2) The Germans were determined, particularly in the central front 
opposite their most powerful concentration of forces, to prevent the escape of 
the powerful peacetime armies into the hinterland of Russia. 

(3) German military operations concentrated, therefore, on extra- 
ordinarily swift and deep penetrations by mobile forces designed to encircle 
and destroy the largest possible concentrations of Soviet troops causing 
irreversible casualties and damage and resulting in the quick seizure of the 
transportation, communications, political, and psychological hub of the Soviet 
Union — Moscow. 

(4) The German military operations designed to encircle physically and 
destroy vast Soviet army formations simultaneously shattered Soviet C^. 

A lesson of the study would seem to be that a massive, surprise offensive 
at the beginning of a war should lead quickly to the destruction (direct 
casualties and damage) and di stintegration (paralysis of command and 
disruption of control) of the strategic defender. In a Warsaw pact offensive 
at the beginning of a war in Central Europe, the Soviets could achieve a 
decisive" victory with or without special emphasis on deliberate disruption of 
NATO C^ simpl-y through the violence and speed of the attack against the 
opposing forces in the field. It is unsettling to note further, however, that 
the Soviets in applying a potential version of Barbarossa in the future would 
probably deliberately target the massive and well known NATO C^ hardware 
systems and personnel in West Germany with corresponding paralyzing effects 
added to the destruction of the NATO forces lying in the paths of the major 
attacks. 



DD Form 1473 Unclassified 

1 Jan .3 



S/N 0102-014-6601 i ,• «eu«iTv classification or t«u »*oer»»— om» *—~* 



m 



>;//?/ ; 




THE ANVIL 

Impressive by any standard with approximately 20,000 tanks, 
15,000 combat aircraft, and huge reserves of tough peasant 
riflemen, who were politically indoctrinated by a metic- 
ulously organized political party, the Red Armed Forces 
stood in 1941 as the most formidable anvil which had ever 
been struck, by an attacker. Shown here, a smoking KV-I 
heavy Soviet tank, a recent victim of German tactical skill 
and confidence. 



IV 




THE HAMMER 



Impressive by any standard with mission oriented leadership 
( Auftragstaktik ) and decisive historical style characterized 
by the strategic concept of the great battle of decision 
(Entscheidungsschlacht) , the German Armed Forces achieved 
near-fatal results against the Soviets in the first 24- days 
of Barbarossa. Shown above is an example of German tactical 
flexibility: a Luftwaffe-served 88mm antiaircraft gun used 
in the ground firing role especially against Soviet tanks and 
fortifications . 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

PAGE 

NOTE TO THE READER 1 

CHAPTER 1. RESEARCH SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY 2 

CHAPTER 2. SOVIET COMMAND, CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS 

IN 1941 12 

CHAPTER 3. BARBAROSSA OVERVIEW 51 

CHAPTER 4. THE ARMY ATTACKS 91 

CHAPTER 5. THE AIR FORCE ATTACKS 190 

CHAPTER 6. GERMAN SPECIAL COUNTER-C 3 OPERATIONS IN 

BARBAROSSA 242 

CHAPTER 7. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 251 

APPENDIX A. GERMAN RANK EQUIVALENTS 259 

APPENDIX B. LUFTWAFFE ORDER OF BATTLE 260 

APPENDIX C. BARBAROSSA INTERVIEW FORMS 261 



VI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



ILLUSTRATION 

FRONTISPIECE. THE ANVIL • 

FRONTISPIECE. THE HAMMER 

1. SOVIET RADIO. TRANSMITTER-RECEIVER 6-PK 

2. SOVIET RADIO. TRANSMITTER-RECEIVER 5-AK-1M 

3. GERMAN CONCENTRATION, POLISH VILLAGE 

4. GERMAN CONCENTRATION, SOVIET BORDER 

5. -GERMAN COMMAND, DIRECT STYLE 

6. GERMAN COMMAND, HIGH LEVEL ROADSIDE ORDERS 

CHAPTER FRONTISPEICE, LT REINDERS BEYOND THE DNIEPER. . . 

7. GERMAN CONCENTRATION, TEN -MAN INFANTRY SQUAD 

GERMAN CONCENTRATION, LATE THAW IN SPRING 1941. . . . 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT, PzKw IV TANKS INTO USSR 

MINSK-MOSCOW HIGHWAY 

TNHP TANKS 6N NORTHERN ROAD . . . 

PRIMITIVE ROAD NETWORK. 

UKRAINIANS GREET GERMANS 

WHITE RUSSIANS GREET GERMANS. . . 
GERMAN VERSATILITY. ....... 

7 5mm INFANTRY CANNON IMPROVIZATION 
HEAVY MACHINE GUN PLATOON .... 

INFANTRY ATTACKS ........ 

19. GERMAN FIREPOWER, MG-34 WITH INFANTRY SQUAD ..... 

20. BARBAROSSA COMBAT, RUSSIANS IN ACT OF CAPTURE .... 

21. BARBAROSSA COMBAT, CAPTURED SOVIET TANK CREW 

22. GERMAN COMMAND, GUDERIAN AND HOTH 



8 
9 
10 
11 
12 
13 
14 
15 
16 
17 
18 



OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 
OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT 



PAGE 

i 

ii 

26 

27 

53 

60 

66 

67 

90 

94 

95 

112 

113 

114 

115 

116 

117 

130 

131 

132 

133 

148 

149 

150 

151 



VI 1 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS (CONTINUED ) 

ILLUSTRATION PAGE 

23. GERMAN COMMAND, VON MANSTEIN 152 

24. GERMAN COMMAND, HIGH LEVEL DIRECT COORDINATION 157 

25. COMMAND STYLE, CORPS MOBILE HQ IN BUS 158 

26. COMMAND STYLE, HALF TRACK COMMAND POST 159 

27. COMMAND STYLE, COLONEL ISSUES ORDERS FROM HALF TRACK . . 159a 

28. COMMAND STYLE, PzKw I SPECIAL COMMAND VEHICLE 160 

29. COMMAND STYLE, ORDERS FROM THE SADDLE 161 

30. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, SOVIET FORTIFICATIONS PRISONER .... 162 

31. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, 25,000 SOVIET PRISONERS 163 

32. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, BURNED OUT T-26 TANK 164 

33. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, DAMAGED BT-7 TANK 165 

34. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, DAMAGED T-34A TANK 166 

35. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, TWO CAPTURED KV-II TANKS 177 

36. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, SOVIET KV-II TURRET IMPACTS 178 

37. DEFENSIVE TRAUMA, DAMAGED SOVIET KV-I TANK 179 

CHAPTER FRONTISPIECE, KESSELRING AND HOTH 189 

38. AIR ATTACK, DESTROYED DB-2 BOMBERS 208 

39. AIR ATTACK, TIMOSHENKO'S HEADQUARTERS 209 

40. AIR ATTACK, RUSSIAN BARRACKS 210 

41. AIR ATTACK, TANK CARS 211 

42. AIR ATTACK, TANK CARS 212 

43. "INFANTERIE der LUFT" 218 

44. AIR ATTACK, BIALYSTOCK COLUMN 219 

45. AIR ATTACK, SMOLENSK TRAIN STATION 220 

46. AIR ATTACK, RUSSIAN AIRFIELD 221 



Vlll 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS (CONTINUED) 

ILLUSTRATION PAGE 

47. AIR ATTACK, RUSSIAN AIRFIELD 222 

48. SOVIET "RATA" AND GERMAN ME-109 237 

LIST OF FIGURES 

FIGURE 1. GERMAN BARBAROSSA VETERANS INTERVIEWED 5 

FIGURE 2. COMMUNICATIONS MEANS COMPRISING THE VARIOUS 

COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS : 19 

FIGURE 3. MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS EMPLOYED IN THE MILTIARY 

COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM 20 

FIGURE 4. COMPARISON BETWEEN THE MILITARY CHAINS OF COMMAND 

(JUNE AND JULY 1941) 31 

FIGURE 5. COMPARISON BETWEEN THE MILITARY CHAINS OF COMMAND 

(JULY AND AUGUST 1941) 32 

FIGURE 6. RUSSO-GERMAN FRONTIER MILITARY DISTRICTS (22 JUNE 

1941) 33 

FIGURE 7. BARBAROSSA (1941) PLANNING AND CONCENTRATION 

(JULY 1940-JUNE 1941) 58 

FIGURE 8. BARBAROSSA II (FUTURE) PLANNING AND CONCENTRATION 59 

FIGURE 9. THE SD-2 BOMBLETTE 224 

LIST OF CHARTS 

CHART 1. MAJOR LOYTVED-HARDEGG INTELLIGENCE GATHERING 

NETWORK, LUFTWAFFE -BARBAROSSA ...199 

CHART 2. LUFTWAFFE HIGH COMMAND'S ESTIMATE OF RUSSIAN AIR. 202 

CHART 3. GERMAN MILITARY AIRCRAFT -EASTERN FRONT, 22 JUNE 

1941 206 

CHART 4. EASTERN FRONT -LUFTWAFFE ORDER OF BATTLE, 2 2 JUNE 

1941 207 

CHART 5. SOVIET AIRCRAFT LOSSES (BY DAY) 22 JUNE 1941- 

22 JUNE 1941 222a 

CHART 6. COMPARISON OF CUMULATIVE LOSSES OF SOVIET AND 

GERMAN AIRCRAFT, 22 JUNE 1941 to 10 AUGUST 1941 . 223 

ix 



LIST OF MAPS * 

PAGE 

MAP 1 SITUATION 21 JUNE 41 68 

MAP 2 SITUATION 22 JUNE 41 125 

MAP 3 SITUATION 27 JUNE 41 126 

MAP 4 SITUATION 5 JULY 41 180 

MAP 5 SITUATION 15 JULY 41 181 

MAP 6 SITUATION 24 JULY 41 182 

* Each map shows the position of every German division on the Eastern 
Front at 2000 of the day noted. 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 
The authors would like to acknowledge to the assistance, plan- 
ning and cooperation of Brigadegeneral a.D . Paul-Werner Hozzel and 
Oberstleutnant Albrecht von Mellenthin, without whom this study would 
not have been possible. Sincere thanks also go to the former German 
officers who were interviewed, not only for their time and knowledge 
but also for their kind hospitality to the authors. The officers 
interviewed in order of the date on which they received the study 
team in West Germany and Austria are the following: 

11 Jan 80, Generalmajor a.D . Guenther Pape. 

. 14 Jan 80, Generalmajor Alexander Frevert-Niedermein. 

16 Jan 80, Generalmajor a.D . Dr. Eberhard Wagermann. 

18 Jan 80, Brigadegeneral "a.D. Rudolf Loytved-Hardegg . 

19 Jan 80 General d. BwT a.D . Johann-Adolf Graf von Kielmansegg. 

20 Jan 80 Oberst a.D . Hans" r TJlrich Rudel. 

22 Jan 80 Oberst a.D . Hans-Henning Freiherr von Beust. 

23 Jan 80 Oberst aTTJ . Robert Poetter. 

24 Jan SO' Generalmajor a.D . Peter von der Groeben. 

25 Jan 80 Generalmajor a.D . Detlev von Plato. 

In Freiburg-im-Breisgau the authors spent several days sorting 
through valuable materials provided by distinguished and knowledgeable 
personnel of the Military Research Office and the Federal Military 
Archives. We wish to extend our thanks for the cooperation extended 
by the distinguished director of the Archives, Dr. Stahl. Our thanks 
go also to Dr. Klink of the Research Office for his time and percep- 
tive comments and Dr. Mayer of the Archives for his ultra efficient 
support of our immediate requests. In the United States, our special 
thanks go to Charles von Luttichau of the U.S. Army, Office of the 
Director of Military History for the cooperation which he extended 
to Major O'Neil. 



xi 



XI 1 



NOTE TO THE READER 
Throughout the text the U.S. equivalent of German military- 
ranks have been used to avoid confusion. The German Generaloberst 
of the Second World War, for example, is translated as the U.S. rank 
of General, with both terms used to indicate four star general of- 
ficer rank. A literal translation of Generaloberst would be Colonel 
General, however, the term was not used by the U.S. Armed Forces in the 
Second World War and is not used today. If one translates the ranks 
in terms of star equivalents, a German General der Panzertruppe would 
be an American Lieutenant General, a General leutnant an American Major 
General, and, finally, a Generalmajor would be an American Brigadier 
General. One exception to the concept of equivalents in the study 
has been in the case of the German Generalf eldmarschall , a rank which 
would be equivalent to an American General of the Army or Air Force. 
The German rank Generalf eldmarschall appears in this study several 
times and the authors felt that the term General of the Army would 
be awkward. The term Field Marshal, therefore, has been used in 
this study to indicate the German Second World War rank of General - 
feldmarschall . 



Chapter 1 
RESEARCH SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY 

In the past several years, evidence has come to light which sup- 
ports a view that the Soviet Armed Forces, particularly in cases where 
they have the luxury of a timely buildup of strength prior to a major 
offensive, will deliberately and systematically disrupt the command, 
control, and communications (C 3 ) of their military opponents. The 
Soviets strongly emphasize the stunning of an opponent at the beginning 
of offensive operations, and, beyond the immediate question of the 
style and intensity of the disruption of C , additional questions arise 
concerning the reasons for such emphasis and the historical antecedents 
or model for Soviet counter C 3 operations. The Soviets have tended to 
rely heavily on the experiences of the great patriotic war, particular! 
when analyzing the challenges of modern ground warfare, and one must 
suspect that a heavy influence from the Second World War lingers en. 
It is not too much to expect, for example, that the pragmatic Soviets, 
whose C 3 collapsed in the opening stages of the German surprise attack 
of 1941 (code name Barbarossa) , would study the German operations as 
a lesson for Soviet offensives taking place under broadly similar 
strategical circumstances. 

The present paper examines the German plans for Earbarossa and the 

first five weeks of operations in the East. The research team which 

put together the paper addressed itself to the following questions 

and points: 

First (Basically) , the Question: Did the Germans have a distin- 
guishable, formal doctrine of attack against Soviet C 3 in Bar- 
barossa? (In effect, the question describes the thesis being 



tested by the research team, namely, that the Germans op- 
erated under a distinguishable, formal doctrine of attack 
against enemy command, control, and communications) . 

Second , the Points: 

1. Identification of the Soviet C-* targets which the 
Germans planned to attack within the framework of Barbarossa. 

2. Identification of changes in the targeting which 
occurred in the early weeks of the operation. 

3. Uncovering of the actual C^ targets attacked in 
the early weeks of Barbarossa. 

4. Assessment of the success of the German attacks 
in disrupting Soveit C . 

5. Explanation of the reasons for any shifts that may 
have occurred in German targeting of Soviet C . 

6. Ascertainment of the balance between German attacks 
on C-* targets and other targets. 

The research team was most interested in getting fresh insights 

from German staff planners in Barbarossa and actual participants in 

the early weeks of the operation on the German methods of attack, and, 

3 
most specifically of course, operations against Soviet C . The study 

is based predominately on interviews with German officer veterans of 

Barbarossa who were systematically chosen according to service and 

experience to comment on Barbarossa. The research team used the good 

offices of Brigadegeneral a. D . Paul-Werner Hozzel, German Air Force, 

and Oberstleutnant Albrecht von Mellenthin, German Army, in the months 

of October-December 1979 to locate and contact the officer veterans of 

Barbarossa who would be willing to comment on the planning and opening 

stages of the operation. General Hozzel was provided with an advanced 

set of questions which was intended to be distributed to the Barbarossa 

veterans in advance of the interviews. The questions would serve the 

purpose to prepare the veterans for the interview and warn them fairly 



about the information being sought. General Hozzel edited and im- 
proved the questions which were then reproduced in smooth typed format 
placed in notebooks and mailed in advance to most of the German office 
interviewed. 

The questionnarie consisted of nine pages including an introduc- 
tory letter, a sheet for background information on the Barbarossa ve- 
teran, and seven pages of questions which were blocked out so that sue 
cinct answers to every question could be completed on the forms them- 
selves. The questions proper were divided into those which concerned: 
(1) planning for Barbarossa, and (2) combat operations during the 
opening stages of the operation. The research team did not intend the 
the forms be completely filled out by the Barbarossa veterans and com- 
prise a part of the written study but rather that they be used in a 
businesslike manner to assist the Germans in thinking about the campai 
and the researchers in systemically working through the subject. The 
questionnarie is illustrated in Appendix A, and shows the emphasis in 
the study on information about German attacks directly against Soviet 
C 3 . 

When the research team arrived in Germany early in January 1980, 
it first made contact with General Hozzel and Lt Col v. Mellenthin in 
order to establish the final schedule of interviews. With tact and 
patience over the previous months, Hozzel and Mellenthin had managed 
to arrange meetings with most of the officers shown in Figure 1 . The 
interviews with Col Rudel and Capt v. Luttichau were set up by the 
research team alone and in the latter case involved a visit to 
Washington D.C. where the Barbarossa veteran is presently an historiar 
in the U.S. Army, Office of Director of Military History. 



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Fiqurce 1 shows that the thirteen German officers who were inter- 
viewed held command and staff positions in both the Army and Lufwaffe 
during the planning and execution of Barbarossa. As was originally in- 
tended in the project, many of the views, interpretations, and conclu- 
sions in the study are based on the interviews with those thirteen of- 
ficers who held widely varied assignments in Barbarossa. The research 

team additionally visited the Military Historical Research Institute 
and the Military Archives of the Federal Republic at Freiburg (Breisgai 
and the Photographic Archives in Koblenz. At the Military Archives 

the team spent the equivalent of three man-weeks systematically search- 

•a 

ing for evidence of attacks against Soviet C . The team examined plans 

orders, diaries, and reports of German headquarters and combat forma- 
tion which executed Barbarossa. The team also examined documents at 
the Hoover Institute (Stanford, CA) , Air Force History Center (Maxwell 
AFB, AL) , Army History Center (Carlisle Barracks, PA), and U.S. Army, 
Office, Director of Military History (Washington, DC), in an attempt 
to balance the fresh, specific material provided by the oral interview: 

The following observations on the sample of Barbarossa veterans 
interviewed are important to estimate the accuracy and credibility of 
the report on the German disruption of Soviet C^. In the report, the 
thesis which was tested, essentially that the German operated under 
a clear, formal doctrine of attack against Soviet C^ in Barbarossa, 
was rejected by every officer interviewed and was unsupported by the 
primary documents examined. The officers interviewed consistently pre 
sented a picture of German attacks intended primarily to smash the 
enemy through casualties to personnel and damage to equipment. The 
same officers represented a statistical sample with the following 



strengths and weaknesses from the viewpoint of presenting a compre- 
hensive picture of Barbarossa: 

Sample of German Barbarossa Veterans 
Weaknesses Strenaths 



1. Small Sample Size. 

2. Restricted Distribution of 
Rank (and Age), e.g., Lt, Capt, 
Maj in Barbarossa. 

3. Restricted Range of Commands 
Held, e.g., Plat, Company, 
Battalion. 



1. Effective Distribution Among 
Services, e.g., Army, Luftwaffe. 



2. Effective Distribution of Staff 
Positions, e.g., hi/lo staffs 
varying from G-3 (opns) Army Group 
to G-4 Division. 



With more time and money, the research team could have interviewed 
a larger sample of Barbarossa veterans but not a sample which would have 
been much more significant statistically. The restricted range of ranks 
and commands held in the sample can no longer, in contrast, be overcome 
by any research team with any amount of time and money. A German divi- 
sion commander in Barbarossa, for example, aged a reasonable 50 years 
would now be 89 years old and a rare find. Notwithstanding the excel- 
lent reasons for the narrow range of age, rank and command of the in- 
terviewers, the sample remains restricted to officers who experienced 
command in Barbarossa at junior ranks and in front line combat. The 
sample, in contrast, was adequately distributed among Army and Luft- 
waffe officers for purposes of picturing missions and targets attacked. 
The officers who held staff positions in the planning for Barbarossa 
and/or combat also represented a wide range of positions which tended 
to reduce the effects of the narrow distribution of age and rank and 
the limited range of command. Generalmajor Peter von der Groeben with 
rank of major in Barbarossa experienced planning at the exceptionally 
high level of assistant G-3 (operation) in Army Group Center 



and Generalmajor Rudolf Loytved-Hardegg with rank of major served as 
G-2 for Air Fleet with responsibility for Luftwaffe targeting for the 
entire Soviet front for the first waves of the attack. The positions 
held by Generals v.d. Groeben and Loytved-Hardegg and their heavy re- 
sponsbilities under the Gentian general staff system partly counter- 
balance the narrow band of ranks held by the interviewees overall. 

The report represents largely German views of the planning and 
opening stages of the campaign in the sense of both the personal im- 
pressions of German officers and the writings in the war diaries 
and similar primary documents. These sources paint a picture of the 
campaign in which the Germans concentrated their efforts on the des- 
truction of the opposing Soviet ground formations through deep pene- 
trations of Soviet space and the accompanying pressure of the trailing 
German infantry armies. The picture which becomes clear is one where 
the German formations moved rapidly across the .Soviet transportation 
network to prevent the Soviets from withdrawing into the hinterland 
and incidental to that movement fractured the Soviet system of command 
and control as it existed in the summer of 1941. The Germans additiona 
ly did achieve in the first few hours of Barbarossa some effects agains 
Soviet communications through attacks organized among anti-Soviet 
minorities which took place close to the frontier. Based on several 
comments by readers of the first draft of the report, the research tearr 
decided also to include in the final version a brief systematic chapter 
on Soviet C as it existed in 1941. 

As it became apparent in the study that the basic thesis being 
tested, which had seemed to be so natural and viable, was in fact un.- 
supported by either interview or document, a unique juncture was reache 



during the research in Germany. The research team was faced with the 
decision of whether to inform the sponsor of the lack of German emphasis 
on the paralysis of Soviet C 3 and somewhat dramatically terminate the 
research effort, or to press on and clarify how, in fact, the Germans 
had disrupted Soviet C 3 so effectively. Because the research team had 
begun to see a body of consistent evidence coming into focus which por- 
trayed what had happened in Barbarossa, it decided to press on to il- 
luminate the disruption of Soviet C 3 and to extract the more general 
lessons and warnings of Barbarossa for potential similar operations 
in the future. The team reasoned that a high intensity, conventional 
war in Central Europe would begin with an all-out offensive by the 
Warsaw Pact similar in many ways to Barbarossa (1941). From the view- 
point of a study oriented like its present one, the potential European 
operation in the future might even be referred to as Barbarossa II. 
The potential similarities which allow such an analogy to be made are: 
(1) the potential closeness in historical time of Barbarossa (1941) 
and a future War in Central Europe, (2) similarities in military 
technology, (3) similarities in weather and terrain, (4) similarities 
in the human parameters, i.e., Soviet Russians opposing (West) Germans , 
and (5) the similar strategical circumstances of an all-out attack 
at the beginning of a war with the special importance of surprise, 
initiative, and concentration of effort for the attacker. 

The research team continued to piece together a picture which 
showed the enormous advantages held by the side in a conflict which 
achieves surprise and seizes the initiative at the beginning of a war. 
The picture was an important one to be rnaae available to decision 
makers in NATO and was available in effective detail. The German 
success in the opening states of Barbarossa was also attributable to 



several principles under which the Germans operated, some of which 
have application to the defense of the West today. The principles 
represented a tactical lingua franca among the German officers inter- 
viewed, who presented them consistently as the general reasons for the 
German success. The words which describe the principles which the 
Germans applied in Barbarossa were the following: 

1. Entscheidungsschlacht , or alternately Vernichtungs - 
schlacht . The principle of a single great battle of decision, or 
alternately battle of annihilation. 

2. Auf tragstaktik . Within the framework of every bat- 
tle, mission oriented tactics. 

3. Schwerpunkt . Within the framework of every battle 
or mission a point of main effort. 

Mission oriented tactics on the part of the Germans at every 
level of combat gave them special advantages over the Soviets in 
Barbarossa and during the remainder of the war. The assignment of 
main points of effort at all levels of combat also gave the Germans 
special efficiencies in dealing with the numerically superior Soviets. 
The conscious general application of Auf tragstaktik and Schwerpunkten 
in Barbarossa gave the Germans special decisiveness in smashing through 
the Soviet forces within the framework of a great battle of annihila- 
tion. In Barbarossa, the Germans emphasized destruction first. Para- 
lysis followed as a result of the inflicting of casualties and damage 
and the overrunning of the opposing transportation network. 

It is important to point out, however, that the Soviets had a 
primitive communications system which presented few opportunities for 
specialized attack and damage. The Barbarossa veterans also observed 
that their units had virtually no knowledge initially about the loca- 
tion of Soviet headquarters at any level. The observations are sup- 
ported by the documented Soviet xenophobia and paranoia of the era 



10 



which prevented the Soviets from revealing military information of 
virtually any kind to the Germans. Not only were the Soviet reticent 
about providing information on military dispositions, but they also 
depended on relatively primitive communications hardware up to divis- 
ion level characterized by almost complete dependence on messengers, 
wire and telephones, and even light signaling devices and flags. The 
forests of radio antennas associated with Western formations at the 
division level and the numerous command-style motor vehicles were not 
present with Soviet infantry divisions. Soviet tank and mechanized 
divisions had small numbers of radios and a few specialized command 
vehicles. The field command posts of Soviet divisions were therefore 
exceedingly difficult to locate let alone paralyze by selective, pur- 
poseful attack. Higher level headquarters were located often in ordin- 
ary buildings in the cities, towns, and villages of the operational 
area and equally difficult to pinpoint. German documents note that 
Soviet transportation and communications targets in the cities were 
attacked based on tourist or government Stadtplane (city ground-plans) 
supplemented by aerial photography. The necessity for the Germans 
to use ordinary tourist city plans to target communications facilities 
in the larger cities was a bit ignominious and tends to bring into 
focus the lack of information about the Soviet Union and resulting 
lack of formal doctrine for attack against Soviet C . 



11 



Chapter 2 

SOVIET COMMAND, 
CONTROL, AND COMMUNICATIONS IN 1941 



Command, Control, and Communications in 1941 was simpler than it 

3 
is today, and Soviet C was more primitive than that of the Western 

3 
powers. The Soviet Union employed C materiel similar to that of 

other nations, but the USSR's own peculiar national objectives, 

3 
society, and internal bureaucratic organizations influenced its C 

system and made it different from other national systems in 1941. 
Aside from the influencing factors just mentioned, there were others 
which are particularly important to this study. The technological 
inferiority of Soviet C hardware, compared with German and American 
equipment of the same era, restricted the performance and versatility 
of Soviet command and control. The unique highly centralized politi- 
cal system of the Soviet Union and bureaucratic stiffness of the 

political and military participants in the political system also com- 

3 
bined to limit the versatility and responsiveness of Soviet C . The 

geographical size of the Soviet Union increased the requirements of 
the Soviet C system and magnified its vulnerability to counter-C 
activities. 

The Soviet officer corps was still suffering the after-effects 
of the purges of the 1930s and was unprepared for the threat devel- 
oping in the west. A leadership void had been created in the Red Army 
by the purges and had not been filled by 1941, since there were simply 
not enough qualified officers to occupy the positions available. A 
lingering element of ear still pervaded the Red Army in 1941, and 



Interview , Kamil Usfensky, Cambridge, Mass. 1980 



i-Z. 



officers and non-commissioned officers were reluctant to exercise 
their own initiative for fear of making mistakes, i.e., it was safer 
simply to follow orders exactly. Such a situation severely detracted 
from effective command and control in the Red Army. 

The modernization of military thought, equipment, and organiza- 
tion, begun by Marshal M. N. Tukhachevskii in the 1930s was reversed 
following his death in the purges. In December 1940, after careful 
study of the German campaigns in Poland and the West, however, the Army 
initiated a program to reorganize and modernize its armored forces, 
but to effect such a reorganization the Red Army would require more 
time than the Germans allowed. Caught in the midst of reorganization 
and modernization when Operation Barbarossa began on 22 June 19 41, 
the Soviets paid a heavy price when overrun by the Germans. Stalin 
compounded the problems plaguing the military in 1941 by his ominous 

mistrust of the officer corps. As Operation Barbarossa began, Stalin 

• . . . 1 

was single-handedly making decisions on important military matters, 

frequently countermanding orders issued by Military District Commanders 

to rectify locally perceived deficiencies in readiness. Stalin 

additionally threatened executions for incompetence or disloyalty and 

in fact carried the threats out following the initial setbacks in 

Operation Barbarossa. The problems enumerated above were a catastrophic 

liability for the Red Army at the moment the German forces unleashed 

Operation Barbarossa. 

The officer corps of the Red Army was in an uncomfortable position 

at best, but what about the common soldier who would carry out the orders 

of the Army's leaders? The Soviet soldier was a simple, uncomplicated 



History of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union 
1941-1945 (Moscow, 1961), p. 11. 

13 



individual, largely recruited from a rural, peasant background. 
Independent thought and action were conspicuously absent from his 
military make-up, but he displayed superior determination and adapt- 
ability. Soldiers in the Red Army had few necessities and many enjoye 
a better existence in the army during the Great Patriotic War than in 
their peasant villages. The closeness to nature, characteristic of 
peasant life, enabled the Soviet soldier of such background to choose 
almost unconsciously the appropriate and correct military course of 
action when his existence was threatened. From his experience on the 
Russian front, Genera lleutnant Sintzenrich, formerly Commander of the 
German 132d Infantry Division, made the following cogent observation: 

"All these traits are rooted deeply in the Russian soldier; 

military training could teach them to a man matured in 

a higher civilization only laboriously and with difficulty." 

"In all operations and movements within a unit, he is, 
however, greatly dependent on the leadership of those above 
him. Independent thinking, except in situations invol- 
ving his adaptability to natural surroundings,..., is not 
in his nature. "2 

Although there were cases of entire Red Army units surrendering or 

deserting during the first five months of Operation Barbarossa, there 

were also reports of units fighting to the last man with fanatical 

determination . 

One must also examine the character of the Russian land to 

appreciate the problems of command, control, and communications as 



Generalleutnant a.D. Sintzenich, 132d Infantry Division- 
Geomilitary Description of the Western Ukraine-the Russian Soldier 
(Unpublished Foreign Military Studies Typescript #D-103 Historical 
Division USEUCOM, 1947), p. 6. 

2 

Ibid. , pp. 7-8 . 



14 



they existed in 1941. The generalization that Russia was a large, 
remote, underdeveloped country is not sufficient to grasp its im- 
mensity and appreciate the number of waterways, from intermittent 
streams to great rivers, which traverse Russia in every direction. 
Such a host of waterways required a multitude of bridges whose real 
importance became more apparent in time of war. Considering the size 
of Russia, the underdeveloped condition of the Soviet motor vehicle 
industry in 1941, and the extremely primitive road system, the Russian 
railroad presented the predominant means with which to accomplish 
the strategic maneuvers required in that vast country against a mobile 
opponent like the German Army. 

Soviet national communications in 1941 consisted of a shallow 
set of communications systems which largely converged on the Russian 
capital, Moscow. Captain Charles von Luttichau, an intelligence and 
later signal officer with the German Army on the Eastern Front, 

succinctly described the Soviet communications system as "very 

2 

primitive but adequate for its purpose." Operation Barbarossa, how- 
ever, served Soviet purposes very poorly. The official Soviet History 
of the Great Patriotic War , with remarkable candor, described Soviet 

communications on the first day of Operation Barbarossa as improperly 

3 
organized. The Soviets had designed their communications according 

to a preconceived concept of the type of conflict that would develop 

on the western frontier. This concept seems to be one in which the 



Capt von Luttichau has also completed extensive research into 
the early part of the war between Germany and Russia and has authored 
the Barbarossa volume in the U. S. Army series on the Eastern Front. 

2 

Interview, Charles von Luttichau, Washington, 1980. 

3 

The Great Patriotic War , p. 11. 

15 



Soviets felt they would have sufficient forces to check an attack 
conducted at the slow pace of military operations they had exper- 
ienced in the past and to seize the offensive themselves. Operation 
Barbarossa, with its opening swift, deep breakthroughs was inconsis- 
tent with this notion and the Soviets began to disintegrate within 
the opening hours of the attack. 

The Soviet communications system although primitive was extensive 
and it is useful to distinguish among the individual communication sys 
terns, for example, those of the Military Party, etc. and the various 
communication means, for example, telephones, radios, etc. employed 
in the national communications network of the Soviet Union. The five 
principal communications systems which served the Soviet Union during 
part or all of Operation Barbarossa were the following: 

1. The Military Communications System. 

2. The Communist Party Communications System. 

3. The Commissariat of State Security (NKGB) Communications 
System. 

4. The Commissariat of Interior Communications System. 

5. The Local Government Officials Communications System. 

These five systems ranged from the Military System, which could be 
precisely defined by the hardware it employed, to the Local Officials 
System, which could be loosely defined by the users it serviced. The 
various means of communicating employed over the five systems are 
given in Figure I. Figure II graphically portrays the means of com- 
munications used in the military system and arranges them according 
to the level of command at which they were generally employed. Figurt 
II shows that a transition existed from those means employed at the 
tactical level. The telephone was the primary means of communication 
employed by all the various communications systems. The Post Office 
Commissariat managed state telephone communications in Soviet Russia 



16 



and the location of telephone exchanges in the basement of postal 
buildings reveals a certain degree of hardening of these communication 
facilities. Concerning radio communications, it can be said that 
they were less important than telephone communications. High-frequency 
radio transmissions, however, were important means of communications 
at strategic levels over the extremely long distances involved in the 
Soviet Union. No single communications system can be cited as superior 
to all the others, and it is important to note that all five were 

available to the national leaders who used the system which best 

2 
served their requirements at any given time. 

Little information is available on the various communications 

systems comprising the National Communication Network in the Soviet 

Union in 1941 with the exception of the Military System. The Communist 

Party in the Soviet Union operated its own communications system in 

1941, utilizing telephonic communications on the Party's own telephone 

lines. Although few specifics are known, it can be stated that the 

People's Commissariat for State Security with its state intelligence 

organization (NKGB) , operated its own system of communications within 

4 
the USSR and utilized radio transmission to communicate with its spy 

networks in foreign countries. The Commissariat of the Interior, 

which controlled the border guards in the west, also operated its own 



Interview, Charles von Luttichau and Detmar Finke, Washington, 



1980. 
2 



Interview, Aleksandr Nekrich, Cambridge, Mass, 1980. 



3 

Interview , von Luttichau. 

4 
Interview, Nekrich. 



17 



communications system for direct contact between the border and the 
Ministry in Moscow. Except for the exchange of information which 
occurred at the Ministry level, the communications system of the 
Commissariat of the Interior interfaced with the Defense Commissariat 
Communications System only at the Military District level. The 
Local Officials Communications System was the least complete of all 
the communications systems and probably relied on conversations con- 
ducted on the state telephone network, messages sent on the telegraph 
system, and conversations face-to-face. 

The Military Communication System (see Figure 2 ) was designed 
to operate under the rigors of war, and was more complex than the 
other four systems previously discussed. The civilian telephone land- 
lines and cables operated by the People's Commisariat for Communica- 
tions, however, provided the basis around which the Military Communi- 

2 
cation System functioned. Even the armored units connected into the 

civilian cables as the following statement indicates: 

"The signals of the 22nd Tank Division, for example, 
were operated through the local post office, where the 
formation plugged into the civilian telephone network 
and telegraph service (22 Tk. Div. record, 7.61941: 
captured document) . "3 

Personal face-to-face and messenger communications were extremely 

important in the military and were probably the primary means of 



Interview , von Luttichau. 

2 
John Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad (New York , 1975) , p. 22 

3 
Ibid. , p. 73. 



18 



Figure 2 



Communications Means Comprising 
The Various Communications Systems 
(Including communications facilities within each means) 



Means (Generic) 
Telephone: 



Telegraph: 



Messengers 



Means (Specific) 

State telephone lines 
Military telephone lines 
Party telephone lines 
Railroad telephone lines 
Telephone Exchanges 

Civilian (in State Post 
Offices) 

Military 

Booster Stations 
State telegraph lines 
Military telegraph lines 

Couriers 

State (ground and air) 
Military (ground and air) 

Liaison Officers 

Messengers 

Motorcycle 
Vehicular 

Runners 



Radio: 



State radio facilities 
State Security (NKGB) radio 

facilities 
Special High Command radio 

facilities 
Military field radios 
Military nodes of 

communications 



19 



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20 



communication at the company, and perhaps even battalion, level. 
Couriers and liaison officers replaced messengers in the personal 
communications role at the regimental level and higher. Radios were 
employed only above the division level except in armor units where 
radios were common at all levels. It is likely that radio com- 
munication was the primary means of communication in armor units with 
personal face-to-face, messenger, and telephonic communications assum- 
ing secondary importance, although little direct evidence can be 

* 
presented to support such a view. In the Soviet Military Communi- 
cations System in 1941, communications were not effectively coordin- 
ated between the infantry and its supporting arms, for example, air 
and artillery. The Soviet artillery forces, however, had excellent 
internal communications. 

Due to a paucity of wireless sets and limited experience with 
wireless communication before the Great Patriotic War, many Red Army 

personnel were not familiar with radio communications and preferred 

2 
to rely on the more familiar telephone. Radio operators who were 

formally trained, however, were extremely well trained and assigned 

to corps level commands and above. Radio operators below the corps 

level where radios were used only in armor units (see Figure 3 ) were 

. . 3 
typically poorly trained on the job and limited in technical ability. 



Interview , von Luttichau. 

2 

Alexander Werth, Russia at War (London, 1964) , p. 138. 

3 
Interview , Nekrich. 

*According to Richard Ogorkiewicz , Armoured Forces (New York, 
1970), p. 99,,a Russian armored, or Tank Division consisted of two tank 
regiments, one motorized infantry regiment and an artillery regiment 
while a motorized division included two motored infantry regiments, 
one tank regiment and an artillery regiment. 



21 



Only in the Leningrad Military District had the system of radio nets 
reached an effective degree of development by 22 June 1941 to make a 
significant contribution to the defense of the Soviet Union in the 
opening stages of Barbarossa. The communications section of a typicc 

staff was known as the node of communications. An army level node of 

* 
communications, for example, was headed by the Army Signals Officer 

and usually included the communications equipment and operators, cryp- 
tographic personnel, representatives from the operations and intel- 

2 
ligence staff sections, and political and state security personnel. 

Special High Command Radio Communications Units, operating under the 

direction of the Signals Administration, existed to maintain contact 

3 
between the General Staff in Moscow and the Fronts. 

No separate air signal service existed in the Red Air Force in 
1941. The Army Signal Service supported both the Air Force and the 
Army with wire and radio communications, and in the case of the Air 
Force, with a weather reporting system. Flying units, area air com- 
mands, air divisions, and air bases had Army communication personnel 
included as organic units. Wireless telegraphy and radio were the 
primary means of communications in the air forces, but a variety of 



Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 72. 

2 
Interview , Nekrich. 

3 
Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 73. 

*The Army level node of communications communicated with the 
Front and Corps nodes of communications. When Corps were eliminated 
on 10 July 1941, the Army communicated directly with the divisions. 



22 



other means such as wire, marking panels, visual and light signals, 
and flares and rockets were also utilized. Separate radio networks 
existed for ground-to-air, air-to-ground, ground-to-ground, air 
traffic control, and weather service communications. Although a 
variety of radio nets existed to support the Air Force, the signal 

communications services were poorly organized and the air signal net- 

2 
work was not suited to the flexible conduct of air warfare. Specific 

wave-lengths were not assigned to units in the Air Force, but rather 

a complete wave-band of frequencies was allotted to a Front (army 

group) area. The frequencies and sometimes also the call signs were 

changed arbitrarily twice in one day. Only a few Soviet aircraft 

were equipped with radios in 1941. Commanders of attacking flights of 

aircraft were able to communicate with radio from air-to-ground but 

were forced to more primitive, visual communications between aircraft 

in flight. 

Radios were in short supply in the Soviet Air Force and were of 

the same low quality as those used by the ground forces. Only a few 

radio beacons existed in 1941 in Russia, and very few of them were used 

4 
by the military. Aircraft instruments, such as radio direction-finding 

equipment, were crude and even the influx of superior American equip- 
ment failed to improve the situation because of a critical shortage 



Generalleutnant a.D. Walter Schwabedissen, The Russian 
Air Force in the Eyes of German Commanders (New York, 1960), p. 31. 

2 Ibid . , p. 159. 

3 Ibid . , p. 154. 

4 

Ibid , p. 31. 



23 



of personnel able to operate the superior equipment. Harold Faber 

in Luftwaffe, a History otters a unique, descriptive account of 

Soviet airfield operations before the German attack. 

"Control towers were unheard of in Soviet ground 
organizations and radio and electrical apparatus were 
usually nonexistent. When units took off it was 
reminiscent of the old flying squadrons of World War I, 
which operated from primitive fields and communicated 
by a wave of the hand or a tip of the wings. Even 
normal field telephone equipment was absent from most 
Soviet airfields." 

Soviet communications equipment in 1941 was technically inferior 
to German and American equipment of that time. Lt Col Kamill Usfensk? 
an intelligence officer in the Red Army on the Eastern Front, con- 
sidered the American field telephones provided the Soviets through 
the Lend-Lease Program to be "twice as good" as Russian phones then 
in use. The German communications equipment encountered by the 
Soviets during the. course of Operation Barbarossa was so superior to 

similar Russian equipment that the Soviets employed captured German 

2 
radios and telephones whenever they were available. The Soviets wer 

habitually short of radio sets, operators, and repairmen. On 22 June 
1941, in fact, the 3rd Army under Lieutenant-General Kuznetsov, hold- 
ing the right flank of the Western Military District at its junction 
with the Baltic Military District, had no radios in service to higher 
headquarters during the German attack because of Soviet maintenance 
problems. 



"'"Harold Faber, Luftwaffe , a History (New York, 1978) , p. 233. 

2 

Interview , Usfensky. 

3 
Erickson , Stalingrad , p. 119. 



24 



Varying degrees of sophistication existed in the cryptography 
employed by the Soviet forces in Operation Barbarossa. The well-trained 
radio operators of corps level and higher could handle complicated 
ciphers with assistance from cryptographic specialists. The tactical 

units were restricted to elementary ciphers and simple call signs due 

2 
to the limited training of the communications operators. German 

army group codebreakers were unable to crack the high level codes em- 
ployed between Stavka and the Theater Commands but codes used below 

corps level, often the Caesar's Codes actually developed during the 

3 
time of Caesar, proved relatively easy for the Germans to decipher. 

In addition to formal ciphers, the Soviets used simple, easily de- 

4 
ciphered, word-substitution codes in their tactical transmissions. 

ro facilitate their use, the codewords were usually written around the 

oorder of the unit operations map, which resulted in the capture of 

the codes whenever a map was captured during Operation Barbarossa. The 

alementary system of codewords employed by the Soviets was easily 

compromised, and the use of this primitive codeword system caused a 

iangerous false sense of security wherever the codewords were employed. 

2 

The Soviet Command and Control (C ) System, which conceptually 

can be considered as a subset of the overall Soviet Command, Control, 



1 General der Nachrichtentruppen Albert Praun, German Radio 
Intelligence (Unpublished Foreign Military Studies Typescript #P-038 
Historical Division USEUCOM, 1950), p. 94. 

2 . , . , 
Interview , Nekrich 

3 

Interview , von Luttichau 

4 ... 

See Generaloberst Hellmuth Reinhardt, Small Unit Tactics 

(Unpublished Foreign Military Studies Typescript #P-06Gd Historical 

Division USEUCOM), Appendix III for a more complete discussion. 



25 



name plates 



RECEIVER 

rwm 



FJL. VOLTAGE 



REGENERATION 
CONTROL 



MAW OPERATING 

switch *rcvr? ; 
"ope* *mmsm 



2 TELEPHONE 
JACKS 



+80,-30' 



key, mis, Em 



TUNINC PINTLE 




VOLT-AMMETER 



MAW WAVE 
SELECTOR 



XTAL SOCKET 



ANTENNA 



TRANSMfTTER 

rwm 



ALTERNATE 
ANTENNA 



VOLTMETER 

switch wa; 'ant; 

"fil" ano-plate' 



MICROPHONE AND 
JACK 



ANTENNA TUNING 

HEAD SET AND 
ACCESSORIES 



Transmitter-receiver 6-PK 




Ivameplate for transmitter 
receiver 6-PK. 



The 6-Pk was a pack-type 
transmitter-receiver used 
by the Red Army during 
Operation Barbarossa. This 
radio was poorly constructed 
and poorly designed for main- 
tenance (although the opera- 
ting controls were reasonably 
accessible) . The 6-PK trans- 
mitter-receiver was encased 
in a flimsy wood case covered 
with canvas on the outside. 



Illustration 1. Transmitter-Receiver 6-PK 



26 



"TRANSMIT* SWITCH 
LIGHT VOLTAGE 
COUNTERPOISE 
ANTENNA 



TUNING DIAL 

XWTR VOLTAGE 
CONTROL 

XMTR VOLUME 
CONTROL 

POWER PLUG 




XMTR AND RCVR 

VOLTMETER 

RCVR VOLUME 
CONTROL 

RCVR TUNING 

REGENERATION 
CONTROL 

HEAD SET JACKS 

VOLTMETER 
PUSH-BUTTON 

RCVR POWER 

(FOR RCVR WHEN SEPERATELY USED) 



ANTENNA CURRENT 
METER 

COUNTERPOISE 

ANTENNA 

ANTENNA TUNING 

DIAL LIGHT SWITCH 

TUNING OIAL 

NAME PLATE 

MAIN TUNING 
(WAVE SELECTOR 

VOLTAG SWITCH 
AND INDICATOR 

XTAL JACK 

Tp-Tg* SWITCH 

KEY 

REMOTE CONTROL 
JACKS 

POWER OUTPUT 
CONTROL 

GROUND FOR 
VECHICLE CHASSIS 

MICROPHONE JACK 



Transmitter-receiver 5-AK-1M, 



The Soviet 5-AK-1M transmitter receiver was a relatively 
compact, vehicular mounted radio used by the Red Army 
during Operation Barbarossa. The 5-AX-1M transmitter- 
receiver weighed approximately 286 pounds and required 
over 36 feet of antenna to operate.. 



: .■......; 



. . : ' : K 




rCAH 




Nameplates for transmitter (left) and 
receiver (right) of 5-AK-1M. 



Illustration 2. Transmitter-Receiver 5-AK-1M 

27 



and Communication System, was unique to the Soviets and influenced 
heavily by the personnel served and controlled by it as well as the 

preceived Soviet notion of a slow moving war on the western frontier. 

2 
The C system was effective under peacetime conditions but largely 

untested under the combat conditions for which it was designed. Littl 

thought, if any, had been given to the types of situations which 

developed during Operation Barbarossa. In time of war, it is often 

2 2 

difficult to separate the national C system from the military C sys- 
tem, and actions taken by the Soviet Union during Operational Barbaros 

effectively merged these two systems so that a discussion of Soviet 

2 
C in general must include both. 

A national strategic leadership body did not exist in the Soviet 

Union on 22 June 1941, a detail supported by the fact that there was 

no supreme command, supreme command headquarters facility, nor clearly 

discernable supreme commander. As Marshal of the Soviet Union, V. D. 

Sokolovskii recounts: 

"...We had not worked out the problems of strategic 
leadership of the Armed Forces by the beginning of the 
war. As a result, leadership in the command of the 
armed forces was quite inadequate during the initial 
period of the war. "2 

As Commissar of Defense, Marshal Timonshenko was the supreme commander 

but through political authority and sheer intimidation, Stalin was 

. . 3 
personally making all of the important military decisions, and 

4 
was actually the supreme commander. There was no adequate command 



See Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 114. 

2 

Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy , p. 252 

3 

The Great Patriotic War , p. 11. 

4 
Ericsson, Stalingrad , p. 126. 



28 



facility, uniquely dedicated or designated, from which the supreme 
commander could effectively exercise command and control. Accounts of 
activity in the Defense Ministry during the initial hours of Operation 
Barbarossa leave the impression that Marshal Timoshenko, and his 
assistant, General Zhukov, responded to the German attack from the 
desks in their offices. No procedures existed for the use of 
command facilities available at either the Moscow Military District 
or the Air Defense Command Headquarters in Moscow. The lack of such 
procedures is further testimony of the inadequacy of Soviet Strategic 
C 2 on 22 June 1941. 

The command structure was quickly modified on 23 June 1941 when 
the Central Committee of the Communist Party formed the Headquarters 
of the Supreme Command (Stavka) under the Defense Commissar, Marshal 
Timoshenko. One week later, on 30 June, the Central Committee, Supreme 

Soviet, and Soviet of the People's Commissars of the USSR created the 

2 
State Defense Committee (GKO) with complete state and military power. 

The GKO members were soon sitting as part of the Stavka and by 10 July 

the State Defense Committee had created three high commands (or theater 

level commands) to assist the Stavka exercise direct command of the 

troops. The high commands functioned in the field directly under the 

Stavka in Moscow and coordinated several fronts for the accomplishment 

3 
of general strategic missions in specific geographical areas. As 



See Erickson, Stalingrad , pp. 101-135 for an exceptionally 
detailed account of the initial hours of Operationa Barbarossa. 

2 
Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy , pp. 487-488. 

3 Ibid. , p. 489. 



29 



As Marshall Sokolovskii points out, 

"This decision of the State Defense Committee changed the 
Stavka of the High Command into the Stavka of the Supreme 
High Command under the direction of the Chairman of the 
State Committee of Defense. . .and in August it was placed 
under the direction of the Supreme Commander of the Armed 
Forces of the Soviet Union (Joseph Stalin)... 

During the entire Great Patriotic War, the Stavka was the 
highest agency of strategic command for the Armed Forces. 
It was collegial agency. All the most important decisions 
were made after the Stavka discussed them with the front 
commands, the commanders-in-chief of the branches of the 
Armed Forces, the service commanders, as well as with 
other individuals concerned. "l 

Following the reorganizations just described, the Stavka comprised se' 

lected members of the Politburo, the Chief of the General Headquarter 

2 
and individual higher command personnel. By August 1941, Joseph 

Stalin's consolidation of power was complete and he had refined centre 

ization to a new degree as Chairman of the State Defense Committee, 

Defense Commissar (replacing Timoshenko who had been assigned to a 

theater command), and Supreme Commander. 

Changes were also made in the organization of the military as 

Operation Barbarossa progressed. As stated previously, portions of the 

military organization were in the process of reorganization on 22 Jun« 

1S41 to bring the Red Army up to date with the more modern concepts 

of varfare employed by the Germans. The incomplete reorganization of 

Soviet tank forces resulted in large, unwieldy formations, difficult 

to control. The corps level, an integral part of the chain of 



1 Ibid, 



Ibid. 



3 
Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 180. 

4 
Interview, von Luttichau. 



30 



Figure 4 
Comparison of the Military Chain of Command 



w 

rH 
0) 
> 

o 
1-3 

o 

•H 
Cn 
<D 

-P 
(0 
U 

4-1 



22 June 1941 



Supreme Commander 



Commissar of Defense 

Military District 
Army 



10 July 1941 

Supreme Commander 

State Defense , 
Committee ( GKO) 

2 

S t a v k a 

Commissar of Defens 

Theater 3 

Front 

Army 



IS) 

l-t 

> 
-J 



a? 
U 

•H 



Corps 

Division 

Regiment 

Battalion 

Company 



Division 

Regiment 

Battalion 

Company 



NOTES: 

1. Formed 30 June 1941 with complete state and militar; 
powers to provide the leadership organ by which 
national decisions could be made and coordinated. 

2. Headquarters of the Supreme Command (Stavka) formed 
23 June 1941 under the Defense Commissar, placed 
under GKO on 10 July. The Stavka provided the 
General Headquarters lacking on 22 June with which 
Moscow could direct the military. 

3. Formed 10 July 1941 to facilitate control of the 
fighting units by Stavka. 

4. Military Districts transformed into Fronts during 
the first ten days of Operation Barbarossa. 

5. Eliminated by 10 July 1941 due to a shortage of 
trained officers. 



31 



Figure 5 
Comparison of the Military Chain of Command 



0) 

> 
-J 
u 

•H 

■M 

■M 
CO 



10 July 1941 

Supreme Commander 

GKO 

Stavka 

Commissar of Defense 

Theater 

Front 

Army 



10 August 1941 

Supreme Commander 

Stavka 

GKO 

Commissar of Defense 

Theater 

Front 

Army 



i-H 
CO 

> 

CD 



ctJ 
U 

•H 
U 

ca 

H 



Division 
Regiment 
Battalion 
Company 



Note 



Division 
Regiment 
Battalion 
Company 



1. On 10 August Joseph Stalin as Supreme Commander 
approved a GKO recommendation which changed the 
Stavka from simply the General Headquarters into 
the Stavka of the Supreme Command. 



32 



Figure 6 

Russo-German Frontier Military Districts 
(22 June 1941) 

Leningrad Military District: 14th, 7th, 23d Soviet Armies 
sector: from the Barents Sea to the Gulf of Finland 

Baltic (Special) Military District: 8th, 11th Soviet Armies 
sector: 300 kilometers of frontier with East Prussia 



Western (Special) Military District: 3rd, 10th, 4th Soviet 
Armies 

sector: 470 kilometers of frontier, Belorussia 



Kiev (Special) Military District: 5th, 6th, 26th, 12th 
Soviet Armies 

sector: 865 kilometers of frontier, Ukraine (from Vlodava 
to Lipkany) 



Odessa Military District: 9th Soviet Army (administrative 
only) 

sector: from Lipkang to Odessa (defense of the Crimea 
assigned to independent rifle corps) 



Note: According to Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 71 

the Special Military Districts were operational 
groupings capable of operations for a limited time 
without mobilization of additional reserves unlike 
the other Military Districts which were largely 
administrative organizations to facilitate reserve 
mobilization. 

Information for this figure was derived from 
Erickson, Stalingrad, pp. 68-69, 



33 



command Dn 22 June, was eliminated by 10 July because initial combat 
losses aggrevated the already existing shortage of trained officers. 
Figure 4 illustrates the chain of command on 22 June 1941, and Figur 
4 and 5 together highlight the changes that occurred during the 
first seven weeks of Operation Barbarossa in the national and military 
command structures. The military districts indicated in Figure 6 
were peacetime administrative organizations for the mobilization of re- 
serves and transitioned into fronts or essentially army groups in time 
of war. The military districts along the western frontier on the eve 
cf the German attack are shown in Figure 6. As mentioned earlier, 
three high commands (theaters) were formed on 10 July to facilitate 
command of the troops by the Stavka and were designated by their geo- 
graphical area of responsibility as the LTorthwest, West and Southwest 
Commands . 

The Soviet system of command was clumsy and inflexible during 
the early days of Operation Barbarossa^ when unexpected situations pre 
eluded quick response. The great distances between strategic fronts 
and the physical constraints of the Russian transportation system 
limited the Soviet options for defense by making rapid redeployment 
and large-scale movement difficult.-^ The Soviet military and politica 
leadership at the strategic level lacked a realistic view of the actua 
situation since it had underestimated the German potential while 



Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy , p. 489. 

2 
Generalmajor Wilhelm Peterson, Campaign Against Etussig C 

ment of Second Army Engineers ) (Foreign Military Studies r _"":ezcr 

#D-018 Historical Division USEUCOM, 1947), p. 8." 

3 
Erickson, Stalingrad, p. 85. 



34 



over-estimating the Soviet potential. The influences just cited 
combined to interfere with innovative, flexible responses to German 
offensive maneuvers and caused the selection of preconceived responses 
or responses patterned in strict accord with established doctrine. 
At the tactical level, officers and NCO's were reluctant to exercise 
initiative partly because they feared punishment for failures. In 
situations where initiative was displayed, the highly centralized 
Soviet command structure facilitated higher authority review and 
punishment for actions perceived as inappropriate. The ordinary sol- 
dier simply followed the example set by his superiors and displayed 
the same lack of initiative. Many commanders who had been quickly 
advanced after the purges lacked the experience required for their 
positions. For some of these commanders, the war as it developed 
in the first days of Operation Barbarossa was simply beyond their 
comprehension. ^ The lower command echelons in the Red Army char- 
acteristically suffered from poor leadership since the best leaders 
had risen to higher commands. ^ German observers commented on com- 
mand in the Soviet Air Force as awkward, old-fashioned, stereotyped 
and hampered by political control. ^ Although the communist party 



Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy , p. 249. 

2 

Reinhardt, Small Unit Tactics , Appendix I, p. 11 

3 
The Great Patriotic War , p. 29. 

4 
Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 123. 

* Interview , von Luttichau. 

* Schwabedissen , The Russian Air Force, p. 12. 



35 



activities in the Army may have exerted detrimental influences 
similar to those experienced in the Air Force, in at least one re- 
spect the party strengthened military command by adding robustness 
to the command structure, since the political officer was always 
available to replace the commander should he be removed unexpectedly 
by enemy action during combat. 

Orders issued by the Soviets during the Great Patriotic War we: 
generally clear and, at least on the tactical level, simple. Due 
to the general lack of information from the front during the initial 
weeks of Operation Barbarossa, orders issued from Moscow were con- 
fusing^ and unrealistic until the Soviets gained an understanding 
of the true state of affairs. ^ As Supreme Commander, Joseph Stalin 
issued the most important orders to his front commanders by summoni] 
them to the Stavka or sending Stavka representatives to the fronts. 
Whether Stalin personally issued the orders himself or simply causet 
them to be issued in his presence is unclear, but the important poii 
is that critical strategic orders were issued in person, and not by 
other means such as couriers or electronic transmissions .6 Reports 
from the fronts to Moscow were likewise presented in person^ and 



Interview , von Luttichau and Finke. 

2 

Interview , von Luttichau. 

Reinhardt, Small Unit Tactics, Appendix I, p. 10. 

4 
Interview , Nekrich. 

Erickson, Stalingrad , pp. 101-135. 

Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy , p. 492. 

7 Ibid. 



36 



during the first few days of the war, before the leaders in Moscow 
clearly understood the Soviet position, the Stavka sent representatives 
to the fronts to determine the true situation and to assist the front 
commanders to respond to the enemy advances. 

Centralization was a key element in the Soviet Command and Control 
System and was a positive force in mobilizing the country and the mili- 
tary once the Soviets recovered from the initial devastating setbacks 

of Operation Barbarossa. During June and July 1941, however, the highly 

9 1 

centralized Soviet C* System adversely affected the Soviet response. 

As an example of the detrimental influence of the highly centralized 

Soviet C^ System, consider that after the first two days of war, Stalin 

became inaccessible when he locked himself in his quarters for the 

2 
next several days. At precisely the time the Soviet Union required 

its most inspired leadership and when the very existence of the Soviet 

Union was most seriously challenged, the key figure in the- centralized 

Soviet C^ System was not available. During the first few days of the 

attack, the overly centralized command system also required commanders 

in the field to await orders from Moscow which arrived late, if at 

all, and were divorced from reality.-* Field commanders were in a 

better position to make their own decisions if for no other reason 

than the precious time that could be saved by eliminating additional 

communications from distant commands. As the war progressed, the 



Interview , Nekrich. 

2 

Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 139. 

See Nekrich, 22 June 1941 , p. 22 for an account of a telephone 

conversation on 22 June' between Marshal Timoshenko, Defense Commissar, 
and General Boldin, Deputy Commander of the Western Special Military 
District. 



37 



Stavka by-passed the fronts whenever the situation required and com- 
municated directly with the various armies, although the fronts were 
always informed of the orders issued or information transmitted. 
Considering that each front had evolved from a military district whic 
had been basically an administrative grouping of armies, it is not sur 
prising that the front was occasionally by-passed for operational 
expediency. 

The Soviet leadership had prepared mobilization and defense plan 
but they were either incomplete or based on the erroneous concept 

of a leisurely war in the west previously discussed. Plans for the 

2 
economic mobilization of the war industries were ineffective and in- 
complete and special, crisis management techniques were required to 
supplement them. The 1941 defense plan for the west was predicted 
on the ability of the border units and frontier military districts 
to provide sufficient time for the mobilization of the main forces ir 
the event of surprise attack. 4 The adequacy of the 1941 defense 
plan certainly appears questionable today and so does the level of 
readiness of the units designated to implement the plan. Marshal of 
the Soviet Union R. Ya. Malinovskiy, a corps commander in the 18th 
Army during Operation Barbarossa, has written the following: 



Sckolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy , p. 493 
Nekrich, 22 June 1941 , p. 195. 
Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 138. 
Nekrich, 22 June 1941, p. 68. 



38 



"requests from some district troop commanders for authority 
to bring their troops to combat readiness and move them 
closer to the frontier were personally turned down by J.V. 
Stalin. The troops continued to be trained in peacetime 
fashion: the artillery of infantry divisions was in artil- 
lery camps and ranges, antiaircraft weapons on antiaircraft 
ranges, and sapper units in engineer camps, and the 'naked' 
infantry regiments of divisions were located separately in 
their camps." 

The point is that despite massive outlays of men and equipment along 
the frontier, readiness levels required by the 1941 defense plan were 
not high enough to ensure thesuccess of that plan against a surprise 
attack. The Soviet Union was continually improving its border de- 
fenses, and, on their own initiative, individual commanders were 
taking measures to improve their unit readiness. When- these individ- 
ual actions were discovered in Moscow they were frequently counter- 
manded. Colonel-General Kuznetsov, Commander of the Baltic Special 
Military District, instituted on his own initiative, for example, a 
partial blackout of the naval bases and airfields in his district to 
reduce his vulnerability to possibly enemy intelligence activity. 
Colonel-General Voronov, Commander of the Anti-Air Defense Command 
(PVO) , learned of this precaution and recommended it to the General 
Staff for adoption elesewhere. Moscow, however, based on the nonag- 
gression pact with Germany countermanded Kuznetsov 's order. 

Red Army Commanders exercised C 3 in the field from severely 
austere facilities as the following account of an army headquarters 
on 22 June 1941 shows. 10th Army Headquarters- which at 2100 on the 22nd 



See Nekrich, 22 June 1941 , p. 198. 

2 

See Erickson, Stalingrad, p. 83. 



39 



was located six miles southwest of Bialystok, consisted of only two 

tents, wooden tables and stools., one telephone truck, and a radio tru« 
This headquarters was the 10th Army's advance command post (CP) which 
at the army level consisted of from ten to fifteen men and included 
the following: the node of communications; cryptographic, operations, 
and intelligence personnel; political and state security personnel, 
liaison officers; and the commander. Farther back from the forward 
edge of the battle area (FSBA) was the first echelon of the CP , com- 
prising the main staff effort under the chief of staff. Still farthei 
behind the FEBA was the rear element of the CP which handled logisti- 
cal matters. Command posts in cities and villages were often locatec 
in school buidlings since they were generally the newest brick facili 
ties with sufficient interior space to accommodate a staff operation. 
Factories and administration buildings on collective farms were also 
suitable locations for CP's, in the absence of schools, but private 
dwellings were unsatisfactory due to the prevalent problem of pest 
infestation in Russian homes. 

Each headquarters, down to and including company level on the 
border, was issued sealed letters containing special orders for speci- 
fic emergencies.'* It is apparently these same sealed letters to whicr 
John Erickson refers when he recounts the opening of 'Red Packets' 



1 Ibid . , p. 129. 

2 

Interview , Nekrich. 

3 

Interview , von Luttichau. 

4 
Interview, Nekrich. 



40 



ontaining mobilization plans and cover plans, between 0430 and 0500 
on 22 June. These letters, or packets, contained orders to be opened 
by the commander under very specific circumstances, although it is un- 
clear from accounts whether the letters were to be opened only upon 
direction of higher authority or upon the initiative of the individual 
commander. 

Soviet maps used during Operation Barbarossa were adequate for 
intended purposes but were quite primitive by comparison with German 
maps of the same time. 2 There was apparently no system which allowed 
continuous use of maps by the Soviets, except for those portions of 
the map previously unused, since marks placed on the maps by the users 
were indelible. Soviet efforts to remove marks from maps resulted in 

the removal of the printed features and rendered the used portions of 
maps unserviceable. Unlike their German opponents, the Soviets had 
no mobile map production facilities to service the armed forces but 
relied on maps printed in the rear area, probably Moscow, which had 
to be delivered to the various units. 

Intelligence information was critical to the Soviet system of Com- 
mand and Control during Operation Barbarossa, and the surprise nature 
of that operation made the early warning phase of the intelligence 
function even more important than it had been previously. The Soviet 
Union had an excellent network of spies in foreign countries, especially 



See Erickson, Stalingrad , pp. 119 and 121. 

2 

The research team examined several Russian maps captured by the 

Germans and compared them with German maps of the same area used in 
Operation Barbarossa to arrive at the conclusions noted. 



41 



Germany and Japan, relaying very accurate, timely information to Moscc 
Although the United States and Great Britain both warned the Soviets 
of German intentions regarding Operation Barbarossa, the Soviet ieadei 
attached low esteem to these warnings since the Soviets considered th€ 
as efforts to undermine the relationship established by the Soviet Unj 
and Germany through such agreements as the 1939 Nonaggression Pact. 
German soldiers defecting to the Soviet Union only hours before the at 
tack relayed very accurate details of the impending attack,-'- but the 
Soviet leadership and Stalin in particular, discounted the possibility 
of a surprise attack of the dimensions of Operation Barbarossa and cor 
sidered the reports as attempts by the Germans to provoke Soviet actic 
The individuals who provided intelligence information to Stalin, such 
as the Military Intelligence ( GRU ) Chief, Marshal Golikov, while not 
intentionally misinforming Stalin, evidently were well aware of Stalir 

frame of mind before their meetings and presented intelligence in the 

5 

manner least irritating to their leader. Presentation of intelligenc 

in such a fashion to Stalin, who had a firm preconceived notion of the 
type of war which might develop with Germany, reduced the value of the 
intelligence. 

Several aspects of the Soviet intelligence system existing on 
22 June were inadequate and deserve special mention to provide a. better 



See Erickson, Stalingrad , p. 105. One deserter, Alfred Liskow, 
crossing the lines at 2100 on 21 June 1941, reportedly stated the at- 
tack would commence at 0400 and that German guns were in firing posi- 
tions. In response to a report from a deserter, Stalin, possible re- 
ferring to Liskow, ordered him to be shot for his disinformation. 

2 

Interview, Nekrich. 



42 



fgeneral appreciation of Soviet C^ capabilities and limitations during 
Operation Barbarossa. Although the Soviet Air Force possessed opera- 
tional reconnaissance aircaraft, very few were located along the fron- 
tier. Fighter and attack planes designed for other specialized mis- 
sions were employed instead in a reconnaissance role. When air recon- 
naissance did produce valuable intelligence, the Soviet Air Force 
; system of processing the information and initiating a response was so 
slow that usually little effect was derived from air reconnaissance. 
The air raid warning system was so inefficiently organized, even by 
Soviet standards, that fighter planes launched in response to warnings 
from the system usually arrived too late to provide adequate overhead 
cover for the Soviet forces. The air defense forces (PVO) control 
system performed unsatisfactorily and only a reorganization of the 
forces and complete new air defense system could provide adequate air 
defense in 1941. The general usefullness of high level Soviet in- 
telligence during Operation Barbarossa, is illustrated by the complaint 
of General Tikhamirov, chief of the operations section of the North- 
west Front, that the intelligence distributed to his front from Moscow 
in early July 1941 regarding the German forces in his area of responsi- 
bility was too general and inaccurate to be of value. 

Immediately preceding and during the initial attack of Operation 
Barbarossa, the Soviet border provided a particularly important early 
warning capability. The 1939 Non-aggression Pact had apparently di- 
minished the urgency for a quick, thorough completion of the facilities 



Faber, Luftwaffe , pp. 228 and 231. 

2 

The Great Patriotic War , p. 50. 

3 
Sokolovskii, Soviet Military Strategy , p. 265 



43 



were incomplete at the time of the German attack. The new Soviet 
border, resulting from the division of Poland, extended for almost 12C 
miles from the Baltic Sea at the border of East Prussia and Lithuania, 
through Poland, along the eastern borders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, 
Rumania, and Bulgaria to the Black Sea. Approxiamately 700 of these 
1200 miles bordered German occupied territory. The border itself and 
the border units in the forward portion of the frontier region were 
the responsibility of the Interior. Immediately behind the border, nc 
fewer than ten armies of the Defense Commissariat were located in the 
frontier military districts listed in Figure V and added depth to the 
border defense by deployment up to 30 0, and in some cases 6 00 kilo- 
meters behind the border. These forces were not positioned in accor- 
dance with any systematic plan of defense and their supply points 
were close to the border itself and frequently located a considerable 
distance from the units and equipment they served. Although the Red 
Army was very large and conducted active training in the border mili- 
tary districts during June 1941, it was none-the-less in a peacetime 
posture with artillery pieces located separately from stored ammuni- 
tion and tank units located separately from their ammunition and fuel 
The road network, which was so critical to the Soviet plan to reinforc( 
the border, was incomplete on 22 June 1941. 3 



Basil Collier, The Second World War: A Military History (New 
York, 1967) , p. 201. 

2 
Sokolovskn, Soviet Military Strategy , p. 370. 

3 
Interview, von Luttichau. 



44 



The sophisticated electronic sensors of today are quite different 
from the elemental sensors employed on the Soviet borders in 1941. 
There was no radar available on the border: instead, elementary sen- 
sors such as police dogs and humans were use.-'- Patrolling was em- 
ployed on the Soviet side of the border but apparently very few patrols 
crossed the border, although local civilian inhabitants visiting on 
the German side were undoubtedly questioned concerning their observa- 
tions of German activity. The border itself was a barrier consisting 
of a barbed wire apron with a variety of primitive alarm signals. Be- 
hind the initial apron of wire was a strip of cleared, raked earth 
probably less than fifty yards in width to highlight footprints. 
Listening posts were located at regular intervals and wooden three- 
man guard towers about twenty-five yards high were erected approxima- 
tely every 500 yards with telephonic and visual communications between 
the towers. Patrols with guard dogs covered the ground between the 



1 Ibid . 

2 

Interview , Nekrich. 

3 
Apparently the width of this strip varied with the location of 

the border. For an excellent description of the border, along the 

Bug River in Poland, facing Army Group Center see Generalleutnant Curt 

Cano, German Preparations for the Attack on Russia (Unpublished Foreign 

Military Studies Typescript #D-247 Historical Division USEUCOM, 1947) . 

See Generalleutnant Hans Bergen, Part Played by the 187th Infantry 

Regiment in the 87th Infantry Division Attack at the Beginning of the 

Russian Campaign on 22 June 1941 ( Unpublished Foreign Military Studies 

Typescript #D-074 Historical Division USEUCOM, 1947) , for an account 

of the border in East Prussia. 

4 
Paul Leverkeuhn, German Military Intelligence (London, 1954) , 

pp. 156-157. 



45 



towers.^ Excellent field fortifications extended six to eight kilo- 
meters beyond the barrier^ with the defensive facilities manned by 
squads or companies. ^ Some new bunkers and artillery positions in 
this belt of defensive positions were still under construction and pr< 
bably unmanned during June 1941. ^ Behind the border was a security 
belt of approximately twenty miles from which inhabitants of certain 
areas were removed while in other areas they were allowed to remain bi 
forbidden to shelter strangers. 

As the battle raged eastward, the border was no longer a signifi 
cant intelligence source and the military relied on such intelligence 
gathering means as ground patrolling, air reconnaissance, and radio 
direction finding. The military probably also received information 
from less conventional sources such as civilian refugees and military 
stragglers fleeing from behind enemy lines. There are accounts of re 

fugees acutually seeking German units, ostensibly for food, but in 

7 
reality to gather intelligence. The government in Moscow, while 



Bergen, 187th Infantry Regiment , p. 6. 

2 

Interview , von Luttichau. 

3 
Cano, German Preparations , p. 4. 

4 

Bergen, 187the Infantry Regiment , p. 6. 

5 
Leverkeuhn, German Military Intelligence , p. 15 6. 

General der Nachtrichtentruppen Albert Praun, Signal Communica - 
tions in the East (Unpublished Foreign Military Study Typescript #P-1! 
Historical Division USEUCOM, 1954, p. 98. 

7 Ibid. , p. 12. 



46 



receiving intelligence from the military, continued to receive infor- 
mation from other nations and agents in other countries, and undoubted- 
ly received valuable information from local civilian officials who sud- 
denly found themselves behind the advancing German Armies and sometimes 
continued to use the civilian telephone network eastward. 

The Soviet transportation system in 1941, consisiting essentially 
of the railroad and road network, was adequate for the needs of the 
Soviet Union as a moderately settled, developing nation. It was in- 
adequate to serve large, modern military forces and was considered 
the weakest factor in support the Soviet Armed Forces. The Soviet 
Union was traversed by innumerable waterways of varying dimensions, 
but, during the opening stages of Barbarossa few water transportation 
systems were considered immediately important for operations. An im- 
pressive number of bridges was necessary, of course, to maintain the 
ground transportation system across the many rivers and streams. Since 
the Germans depended heavily on mobile spearheads and the Soviets had 
to maneuver large forces to parry the German thrusts, the bridges as- 
sumed paramount importance as to ensure the accomplishment of military 
movements via road and rail. Appendix B is an analysis of the Soviet 
Transportation System in 1941 by Generalleutnant Max Bork, a transporta- 
tion expert with the German Army, and is the best account available of 
the Soviet Transportation System in relation to Operation Barbarossa. 

Although the railroad was the most reliable transportation system 



Abberger, Roads and Railroads in Russia , p. 2 

2 

Schwabedissen, The Russian Air Force, p. 50. 



47 



in the Soviet Union and provided the most practical means of accom- 
plishing the massive, rapid, strategic maneuvers required of the Sovi 
in resonse to the German attack, the Soviet railroads were not as den 
ly developed as those in other European countries. In 1938, the late 
year prior to 1941 for which statistics are commonly available, the 
Soviet Union had only 0.65 miles of rail per 100 square miles as a 
whole with 1.80 miles per 100 square miles in European Russia, com- 
pared with the German railroad average of 20 miles per 100 square mil 
There were only 3.30 miles of track per 10,000 inhabitants in Russia, 
around the industrial areas of the Donets Basin, Moscow, and Leningra 
where the railroads were concentrated most heavily while all of Germa. 
had 5.80 miles of track per 10,000 inhabitants. Signalling and safet; 
devices were primitive compared witn railroads in other countries and 
Russian track beds were constructed of sand and gravel instead of 
crushed-rock ballast used elsewhere due to a scarcity of rock. The 
standard railroad gauge in Europe was four feet, eight and one-half 
inches, but the Russian railroad gauge was five feet which allowed 
more' loading space per car. There were no double-track railroad 
bridges in Russia; instead single-track spans separated by 50 to 100 
yards had been constructed. Some of these bridges were temporary spa: 
constructed during World War I, which would have been considered un- 
safe anywhere but in Russia. 

The Soviet railroad assumes even greater importance when compare 
with the shallow system of roads in Russia in 1941. The road network 
satisfied the relatively weak demands of peacetime traffic but failed 
to meet the requirements of modern warfare. The Red Army used some 
motor vehicles for transportation but much of its road transport 



48 



requirements were satisfied by horse-drawn means. Paved roads except 
in the larger cities were largely unknown in the Soviet Union. Con- 
crete and asphalt were not used to construct rural roads. Cobblestones 
and graded crushed rock were used on a few main roads outside the cities 
but only in sections. Except in urban areas, paved roads were ex- 
tremely rare and only four all-weather, hard-surfaced roads have been 
identified in western Russia during Barbarossa. The main roads were 
broad, hard-rolled and quite satisfactory, although dusty, in dry 
weather. They became bottomless after rain and snow at which time ve- 
hicles would widen the roads by driving around untraf f icable areas. 
In many German corps areas and sometimes entire army areas, there was 
not a single hard-surfaced road. In the entire area of Army Group 
North, for example, there were only two all-weather roads capable of 
sustaining heavy traffic while all the other roads were weather depen- 
dent. 3 i n the opinion of Genera lleutnant Bork, there was only one 
road in European Russia constructed in accordance with western European 
standards which received proper, consistent maintenance the -Minsk- 
Mo s c ow Hi ghway . * 

Soviet Command, Control, and Communications, in general, was ade- 
quate for the primitive, peacetime requirements of the Soviet Union 



1 
Sentzenich, 132d Infantry Division , p. 2. 

2 

Abbarger, Roads and Railroads in Russia , p. 3. 

3 

Generalmaior Burkhart Mueller-Hillebrand, German Army Group 

Operations on the Eastern Front 1941-4 3 (Unpublished Foreign Military 
Studies Typescript #P-114a Historical Division USEUCOM, 1954), p. 9. 

4 
Bork, Russian Railroads and Highway s, p. 6. 



49 



in 1941 before the German attack. The military C J System was designe 
for the leisurely operations envisioned by the Soviets prior to Barba 
rossa. The Soviet C System, like the Russian transportation system, 
was not constructed to cope with an all-out, surprise attack executed 
by more than 150 German divisions and spearheaded by highly mobile 
Panzer and motorized infantry divisions. 



50 



Chapter 3 

Barbarossa Overview 

"More than any other event, military victory 
opens the way to the achievement of the 
Political and Economic Goals of War." 

Erich von Manstein 

The Soviets continue to be disturbed today by German 
Operation Barbarossa and the disintegrating effects which it had 
on the Soviet armed forces and the political state at the 
beginning of the Russo-German Campaign in June and July 1941. 
The total picture of the campaign, which extends from June 1941 - 
May 1945, a period of 48 months, tends to obscure the relative 
importance of the opening offensive. The Soviets emphasize, for 
example, their achievements in planning and executing the 
Stalingrad counterof f ensive much later in the war. The Soviets 
also make it clear that the turning point in the campaign came 
with their uniquely Russian, defensive victory at Kursk in July 
1943. Others in the West have been attracted by the vast, final 
act at Berlin in April 1945, and see that final offensive as a 
culmination of two and one half years of similar massive Soviet 
offensives. None of the actions noted above -- Stalingrad, 
Kursk, Berlin -- equal in importance the scope, effects, and 
gains of Barbarossa. The Soviets required four years of 
externally assisted efforts to overcome German gains associated 
largely with Barbarossa. From a slightly different perspective, 
the War in the East can be interpreted as consisting of two 
phases -- German Operation Barbarossa and the Soviet recovery 
from it. 



51 



The Barbarossa military operations were complex and can be 
considered as the historical events in the period from 22 June 
1941 to the collapse of German offensive operations on 5, 6 

December 1941 in the northwest suburbs of Moscow. Within that 
period, i.e., 22 June - 5,6 December 1941, which sets the full 
operational dimensions of Barbarossa, a clearly defined opening 
stage exists with Army Group Center in the area of the German 
effort in White Russia. Under the Command of Field Marshal Fedor 
von Bock, the army group seized the area around Smolensk during 
the period 22 June-24 July 41. The terrain comprises a land 
bridge between marshy and heavily forested regions to the north 
and south and the Germans determined it to be the crucial area in 
which they would pause and reorganize for the final attack 
against Moscow. *■ The unprecedented damage inflicted on an 
opposing military force by Army Group Center retained for the 
Germans the initiative in the war. On 24 July 41, the Germans 
(1) stood 100 kilometers east of Smolensk, (2) unopposed by 
anything which could be called a coherent defensive front, and 
(3) capable within a period of no more than approximately 10 days 
of rest and resupply^ of attacking successfully against a stunned 
opponent on the central front. Army Groups North and South had 
also driven back and pinned down their opponents, freeing the 
larger forces in Army Group Center for a final thrust 



!• Intervie ", Major General Peter von der Groeben, German 
Army (Ret.), Grabow, W. Germany, 25 January 80. Former assistant 
to the la (operations), Army Group Center. 

2. See, for example, Panzer A. O.K. 2., Anlagen, Band Nr . 40 , 
K.T.B. Nr.l , von 23.6.1941 bis 31.2.1942, Bundesar chi v , Freiburg, 
RH 21-21 v. 171, XXIV Pz.K., Personnel and Materiel Standing of 
27.7.41. 



52 




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53 



which would end the war in the East. 

The German armies in Russia required at this time the 
assignment of a strategical objective, which would complete the 
disintegration of the Soviet armed forces and, through the 
physical location of the objective, prevent the continuation of 
the war even by a fanatical and well organized political enemy. 
Instead of the timely assignment of an objective conceived to be 
decisive for knocking the Soviet Union out of the war, the center 
group of armies stood immobile in the face of weeks of 
vacillation on the part of Adolf Hitler and then received the 
incredible order to attack southward into the Ukraine. It is a 
monument to the destruction wrought by Army Group Center in June 
- July 1941, that, after four weeks of recovery allowed the 
Soviets, the German armies drove southward on 26 August 1941 into 
the great victory of the Kiev cauldron in mid-September 1941.1 
It is further testimony to the success of the opening stages of 
Barbarossa, that the Germans regrouped themselves after Kiev 
hundreds of miles to the north and launched a great offensive 
toward Moscow on 2 October 1941 at Vyasma and Bryansk. 2 j n that 
region where the Soviets had now been allowed almost 10 weeks of 
largely unhindered recovery, the Germans achieved another 
victory. It is a final monument to the effects of June - July 



1. The Germans took approximately 665,000 Russian prisoners 
in the Kiev battle, a figure roughly seven ti mes greater than the 
number of Germans captured in the Stalingrad pocket by the 
Soviets. 

2. The Germans took approximately 663,000 Russian prisoners 
in the Viasma-Bryansk battle, a figure also roughly seven times 
greater than the number of Germans captured in the Stalingrad 
pocket by the Soviets. 

54 



1941, that Army Group Center was capable of launching the autumn 
offensive of 14 November 1941 toward Moscow and succeeded in 
placing German combat soldiers in Khimki, a northwest suburb of 
Moscow. 

The historical question which begs to be answered at this 
point is what would have been the result in the war in the East 
if the Germans had launched the attack at Vyasma and Bryansk 
shortly after their arrival in the vicinity around 24 July 1941. 
The answer to the question is beyond the scope of the present 
study. The fact that the Germans stood near Vyasma and Bryansk 
on 24 July 1941 in positions virtually identical to those from 
which they launched the great offensive toward Moscow on 2 
October 1941, 70 days later, however, supports the following 
thesis which is central to this study. The Germans on 
approximately 24 July 1941 stood in positions from which they 
could have reached terrain far to the east of Moscow with 
concomitant destruction of the defending Soviet armies and 
occupation of the political, communications, and transportation 
center of Soviet Russia. The German achievement in June - July 
1941, and the moderate projection of territorial gains in the 
event of a timely continuation of the offensive toward Moscow, 
reinforce a view of the opening stages of Barbarossa as the model 
of combat within which the Soviets would avoid being on the 
defensive and attempt instead to execute a Barbarossa in reverse. 

Soviet writings and Soviet peacetime military maneuvers, for 
example, the Dneiper exercises of the mid-1960s, and the 
maneuvers in the region of the Western Dvina River in the 1970s, 
paint an uncomplicated picture of Soviet forces reacting during 

55 



peacetime to an anticipated attack from the West with an 
offensive of their own. The unique usefulness of Barbarossa in 
contrast with Allied offensive operations in Europe during the 
Second World War lies in the fact that it was a major of fens i ve 
at the beg innin g of a war. The pattern in which the Germans 
prepared for Barbarossa, for example, the deceptions as to 
intentions, the execution of the Auf mar sch (concentration) of 
three million troops on an international border for an attack, 
the guiding principles under which the German armies operated in 
the opening stages of the attack, and the disruption of the 
relaxed Soviet peacetime command, control, and communication 
system, offer immense potential rewards for study by the Soviets. 
The research team examined the German disruption of Soviet 
Command, Control, and, Communications (C-^) during the opening 
stages of Barbarossa. The team reasoned that a systematic 
exposition of the disruption would provide a firmer historical 
basis for Western planners to understand the present Soviet 
emphasis on disrupting an opponent in the opening stages of an 
offensive by attacks on his C . The task demanded the ex- 
amination of the historical event, i.e., Barbarossa, and required 
in turn, at least the discussion if not the establishment of a 
reasonable historical analogy between Barbarossa and a potential, 
future historical event, i.e., Barbarossa II, a future Soviet 
military offensive in Central Europe. In order to gauge the 
effectiveness of the historical analogy, one can establish 
certain of the more important general factors, which operated in 
Barbarossa (1941), and balance them against similar general 
factors, which would operate in a potential Barbarossa II. 



56 



Figures 7 and 8 show several considerations which can be 
considered as general factors in Barbarossa-type offensives. The 
statements in Figure 1 are moderately couched, historically 
supportable statements which characterize the planning and 
execution of Barbarossa. The statements in Figure 8 include 
statements which are forecasts on the subject of a potential 
future concentration and attack by Soviet forces in Central 
Europe. 

The Figures set forth identical factors to be considered in 
the same sequence and show striking differences and similarities 
between Barbarossa (1941) and a potential future Barbarossa II. 
The peacetime diplomatic situation and the qualitative military 
balance are immensely different, and the differences favor the 
NATO defenders in both cases. In the one case, the more tense 
diplomatic situation in Europe today and the highly alert posture 
of the NATO military forces reduce the chance of surprise and 
weaken the advantages associated with it. In the other case, the 
defending NATO military forces have a moderate qualitative 
superiority in terms of weapons and the hardware of C^, which 
would probably tend to reduce casualties to manageable 
proportions when taken in conjunction with the economies of force 
possible with a less exposed defender. The similarities between 
Barbarossa (1941) and Barbarossa II (Future) are equally 
striking, however, if one makes the forecast that the Soviet 
Armed Forces will be able to concentrate secretly and effect 
significant levels of strategic surprise and accompanying 
initiative and concentration of effort. It can probably be said 



57 



I. Barbarossa (1941) Planning and Concentration, (July 
1940 - June 1941). 

A. National Socialist Germany in Overtly Correct and 
Friendly Relations with Marxist Socialist Russia. 

B. Germans Plan Barbarossa as an Offensive to Begin a 
War Within the Framework of Overtly Correct and Friendly 
Peacetime Foreign Relations. 

C. German Military Plans Pivot on Assumption of High 
Quality German Armed Force Attacking Low Quality Soviet Armed 
Force at the Beginning of a War. 

D. German Armed Forces Maintain Large Measure of High 
Level Political Military Secrecy, i.e., Strategic Secrecy. 

E. German Army Maintains Large Measure of Tactical 
Secrecy. 

F. Luftwaffe Maintains Large Measure of Tactical 
Secrecy. 

II. Barbarosa (1941) Attack (22 June 1941) . 

A. German Army Achieves Larqe Measure of Tactical 
Surprise. 

B. Luftwaffe Achieves Complete Tactical Surprise. 

III. Barbarossa (1941) Initial Stages (22 J une - 2_4 July 
1941) . 

A. German Army Seizes and Maintains the Initiative and 
Concentrates its Effort Along Planned Axis of Advance. 

B. Luftwaffe Seizes and Maintains the Initiative and 
Concentrates its Effort on First Mission of Air Supremacy and 
Main Mission of Tactical Air Support. 



Figure 7. The General Factors 
Operating In Bar barossa (1941) . 



58 



I. Barbarossa II (Future) Planning and Concentration . 

A. (Fact) North Atlantic Alliance in Correct but 
Guarded, Tense, and Unfriendly Peacetime Relations with Soviet 
Dominated Warsaw Pact. 

B. (Assumption) Soviets Plan a Preemptive Offensive to 
Begin a War Within the Framework of Tense, Unfriendly Relations, 
and Soviet perceived Threat of Impending Attack by NATO. 

C. (Fact) If a Soviet Offensive is launched in Europe, 
High Quality Soviet Forces Will Attack Higher Quality NATO 
Forces . 

D. (Forecast) Notwithstanding the Tense, Unfriendly 
Political Situation in Europe and the Alert Military Stance of 
the NATO Forces, the Soviets Will Be Able to Maintain Secrecy in 
Preparing an Attack. 

E. (Forecast) The Soviet Army Will Have Relatively 
Greater Problems in Maintaining Secrecy in the Concentration 
for an Attack than the Soviet Air Force. 

F. (Forecast) The Soviet Air Force Units Supporting 
the Openinq Offensive Will be Able to Concentrate for an Attack 
with Relatively Greater Secrecy than the Army. 

II. Barbarossa II (Future) Attack . 

A. (Forecast) The Soviet Army Will Achieve a 
Significant Element of Tactical Surprise. 

B. (Forecast) The Soviet Air Force Will Achieve a 
Significant Element of Tactical Surprise. 

III. Barbarossa II (Future) Initial Stages . 

A. (Forecast) The Soviet Army Will Seize and Maintain 
the Initiative and Concentrate its Effort along Planned Axes of 
Attack. 

B. (Forecast) The Soviet Air Force Will Seize and 
Maintain the Initiative and Concentrate its Effort on Supporting 
the Planned Scheme of maneuver on the Ground. 



Figure 8. The General Factors 
Operating in Europe Today 



59 








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60 



overall, that the situation in Barbarossa II (Future) will be 
considerably more favorable to the defender than the situation in 
the planning and execution of the earlier epic. The lessons and 
warning of the opening stages of Barbarossa (1941), which will be 
examined in detail in the following chapters, would seem to be 
the gloomy ones, however, that the advantages of surprise, 
initiative, and concentration of effort, taken in concert with 
the initial numerical superiority of the Soviets, may outweigh 
the moderate NATO advantage in technology and certain economies 
of force associated with the defense. The anticipated NATO 
superiority in C^ equipment and the implied superiority in 
command may also be cancelled by successful Soviet attacks 
against NATO C^ installation based on the element of surprise. 

Soviet military and political-military literature since the 
Second World War has emphasized several themes which the Soviets 
evidently feel are of special importance to the survival of 
Soviet Russia. Possibly the two foremost themes are those of (1) 
weapons technology, both nuclear and conventional, and (2) the 
lessons of the Great Patriotic War. The Soviets make consistent, 
terse, but decisive references to the opening stages of 
Barbarossa as comprising "terrible" 1 happenings which no Soviet 
government can allow to be repeated in any future confrontation 
with technologically advanced states. The evidence is strong 
that the Soviets have studied and are continuing to study 
Barbarossa and its aftermath in the light of advancing 
conventional and nuclear technology. The evidence is 



1. See, History of the Great Patr i otic War of th e Soviet 
U nion, 1941-1945 , Vol. II (Moscow, 1961), pp. 11. 

61 



overwhelming that the Soviets will not place themselves in the 
position of repelling a Barbarossa type offensive but rather have 
ensured through long term political conditioning of the Soviet 
population and the development of offensive strategy and tactics 
that they will exploit the advantages seized by the Germans in 
launching Barbarossa. The great question which remains is: 
what, in fact, were the advantages seized by the Germans in 
launching Barbarossa? Evidence exists to support views that 
while the Soviets accurately appreciate the havoc wrought during 
the opening stages of Barbarossa, they still fail to understand 
the reasons for the German success in a wide range of 
perspectives varying from the historical necessities of Germany's 
political-geographical position through the immediate necessities 
of machine gun tactics in a ten-man infantry squad. 

The Germans planned the Russian campaign and executed the 
vast Auf m arsch (concentration) in the period July 1940 - June 
1941. The planning, concentration, and execution bear the unique 
stamp of German offensive operations. The stamp can be said to 
comprise the idea in war of a great battle of decision, or 
Entscheidungsschlacht , and flexible, independent decision making 
on the part of subordinate commanders in order to assure the 
success of the Entscheidungsschlacht . The Germans in severe 
contrast to the Russians had been forced historically to 
implement offensive military solutions to the problem of 
political survival. Barbarossa runs accordingly in a pattern of 



1. See, for example, the prescient comments in General 
Ludendor f f ,M^ War Memor ies , 19 14-19 18 , Vol. II (London, 
Hutchinson, no date^ p. 574. 

62 



great military offensives including Koniggratz (1866), Sedan 
(1870), France (1914), Poland (1939), and France (1940). Almost 
as if the event were preordained, the Soviets received the impact 
in a consistent defensive pattern which runs from Poltava (1709) , 
Moscow (1812), Sevastopol (1854-1855), Port Arthur (1904-1905), 
and Gorlice-Tarnow (1915). The German pattern of war, with its 
decisive offensive action at the beginning of all of the major 
conflicts in recent German history, was severely tested in 
Barbarossa. No other state in modern times has had the 
confidence, expertise, and strategical necessity to launch such 
an attack. Probably the most serious objection to the study of 
"arbarossa as a model for present Soviet strategy and tactics is 
<-he disparity in confidence and expertise between the German and 
Soviet military leadership in 1941, rather than the differences 
in technology between 1941 and 1980. An additional difficulty in 
using Barbarossa as a guide to future happenings is that the 
roles of the opponents are reversed, i.e., Soviet attackers with 
high quality leadership are assumed to attack NATO/West German 
forces which possess higher quality leadership. An historical 
analogy between Barbarossa and a contemplated future Soviet 
offensive at the opening of a war against the West, must be 
considered in the light of the factors noted above. 

German planning for Barbarossa went through many iterations 
from the time of the beginning of planning by the Chief of Staff 
of the Army on 3 July 40 to the morning of the Attack. For 
purposes of this study, the complex picture at the higher levels 
of command, e.g., High Commands of the Armed Forces (0_KW) , Army 
( OKH ) , and Luftwaffe (OKL) . can be summarized as follows. On the 

63 



one hand Adolf Hitler and certain immediate assistants, as 
directed by him in OKW , developed a course of action which 
emphasized the importance of the wings of the advance into the 
Soviet Union. Hitler added to the inherent diffusion of effort 
an economic argument about the necessary seizure of the grain and 
industrial resources of the Ukraine at the expense of immediate 
military victory. On the other hand, with solid professional 
military competence, the planners of QKH emphasized the necessity 
to defeat the opposing military force and seize "objectives", 
i.e., political - military terrain, which would ensure the 
military collapse of Soviet Russia. Army ideas and will power 
triumphed in the planning of Barbarossa. The Germans, as a 
result, concentrated 17 of the total of 32 motorized divisions 
employed in the opening days of the offensive, with Army Group 
Center north of the Pripyat Marshes in an attack directly toward 
Moscow. Only nine German motorized divisions attacked into the 
plains of the Ukraine and six into the forest, lakes, and swamp 
of the Baltic area. The Sch w erpunkt , i.e., point of main 
effort, in Barbarossa lay with Army Group Center. Only a 
disastrous turn of events on the flanks or extraordinary 
reemphasis on their importance could prevent the Germans from 
seizing Moscow with the concomitant probability of the 
annihilation of the defending armies and collapse of the Soviet 
Union. 

The QKH played out high level war games in several increments 
in November - December 1940. The war games were manual ones 
which involved a few high level commanders and staff officers, 
with maps, map tables, and orders of battle and deployments of 

64 



the opposing armies. The Germans set great store in such games 
and those of November - December 1940 influenced the Germans to 
reorganize Army Group South because of the resistance which it met 
in the games and the resulting losses and setbacks.-'- Lower level 
war games and map exercises were carried out by the newly 
designated army groups in February 1941 and map exercises were 
conducted by the field army and corps headquarters in April and 
May 1941. Division commanders were not aware that a war with the 
Soviet Union was planned until a few days before the commencement 
of operations on 22, June 1941. Similar emphasis on security and 
the achieving of surprise developed among the Luftwaffe planners. 
In the areas of Air Fleet 1 (Army Group North) and Air Fleet 2 
(Army Group Center), none of the hundreds of air crews and 
individual pilots who took to the air just before first light to 
attack the Soviet Air Force opened their sealed envelopes 
containinq tarqet information more than eight hours prior to the 
launching of the attack. 2 By various means the German High 
Command systematically reduced knowledge of the impending 
operation among personnel of the Armed Forces, e.g., Erich von 
Manstein notes that as commanding general of LVI Panzer Corps, 
one of only ten panzer corps in the East, he was not made aware 
of the impending campaign until May 1941. 



1. See Walter Gorlitz, Paulus and Stalingrad (New York), 
pp. 110-112. 

2« In tervie w , Major General Rudolph Loytved-Hardegg , 
Luftwaffe (Ret.), Nuremberg, W. Germany, 18 January 1980. 

3. See, Erich von Manstein, Lost Vict or ies (Chicago, 
1958), p. 175. Only 12 mobile corps existed in the German Army at 
this time. The additional corps were XXXX Panzer Corps in OKH 
reserve and the newly formed De u tsch es A f r i k a Kor ps (German 
Africa Corps). 

65 




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Illustration 6 



GERMAN COMMAND: Shown here at left, with his command 
car carrying the pennant of the 2nd Panzer Group, is 
General (German Generaloberst ) Heinz Guderian, standing 
on an unpaved road and keeping at least two staff 
officers busy with instructions. German command style 
was characterized by the fluid, relaxed formality shown 
in the photo. 



67 







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The German government continued to operate under the Russo- 
German Nonaggression Pact of 23 August 1939, and maintained 
formal, correct diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. The 
nonaggression pact was an extremely advantageous agreement for 
the Soviets both politically and economically. Under the 
agreement, i.e., with the sanction of the Germans, the Soviet 
government had swiftly and boldly occupied by armed force half of 
Poland, part of Finland, all of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, 
and Bessarabia and the Northern Bukovina in 1939-1940. Heavy 
transfers of Soviet grain and German industrial products had 
taken place between the two states as well as the return of a 
substantial number of ethnic Germans who had formerly been 
forbidden to emigrate. Both states remained moderately tense 
over the issue of appropriate degrees of influence in Rumania and 
the question of the ultimate intentions of each. The correct 
behaviour of the Germans within the framework of the explicit 
nonaggression pact of 1939 constituted, however, an immensely 
successful political deception for purposes of launching a 
military campaign against the Soviets. The German political 
military situation in the West, where active air and naval fronts 
existed, and in the Mediterranean where major air, naval, and 
ground fronts existed, also tended to support a view that the 
Germans would not develop a new front in the East. 

The German High Command had, in fact, issued the general 
directive for the campaign en 18 December 1940, and detailed 
planning at the level of Army Group through Corps proceeded from 
January - June 1941. The first basic question for purposes of 
this study is the degree to which the Germans planned to disrupt 

69 



Soviet command, control, and communications. Consideration of 
the basic question demands the definition of command, control, 
and communications (C 3 ), which, on the one hand, is flexible 
enough to be generally acceptable, and, on the other, firm enough 
to allow systematic, structured analysis. An historical subtlety 
also appears which warns that the Germans in 1940-1941, 
notwithstanding the creation of a graceful, generally acceptable 
definition of C 3 today, may not, in fact, have made such a 
distinction. 

Various descriptions of C 3 exist today based on the thoughts 
and experiences of various responsible military officers, 

scientists, and analysts. The following description of C 3 / which 
will be used for the sake of having a reference point for 
consideration, is based on four separate present-day authorities 
and certain flexible extensions embraced by the study: 1 

Com m and, Control, and Communications _(C 3 ]_ 

Command is the exercise of authority in the performance of 
missions by a commander and his staff. Command is exercised 
throuqh a Control system which comprises the Comm unications 
facilities, equipment, and personnel essential for directing 
assigned forces. Tr ansportation comprises the facilities and 
eauipment used by the assigned forces to move in accordance with 
direction received from the commander through his control system. 
The commander directs his assigned forces within the framework of 
a clearly discernible historical style. The style and asso- 
ciated quality of command sets limits on the performance of the 
entire system. Those qualitative limits exist in addition to the 
technical ones imposed hy the technical qualities of the 
communication facilities. 



1. See, for example, the definitions of (1) Joint Chiefs of 
Staff, (2) Dr. Thomas Rona, Boeing Corporation, (3) Dr. Robert 
Conley, Chief Scientist, C 3 Programs, Office of the Chief of 
Naval Operations, and (4) Dr. Richard Stark, Aerospace 
Corporation. 

70 



Use of such a definition results in a picture of Soviet 
Command, Control and communications which is probably more 
realistic and effective than one which neglects the 
transportation used by assigned forces to achieve the moves 
directed by the command and control system. The broader 
definition tends to dilute the picture of extraordinary emphasis 
placed on technically sophisticated control hardware in the West 
today. Command and Control systems exist, however, to direct 
the movements of assigned forces along existing transportation 
networks and it is probably most effective to consider those 
networks integrally with Command and Control. The integrated 
viewpoint is used in this study and results in the following 
generalized picture of Soviet C^ both in 1941 and today: 

Soviet C 3 

/ 7 7 

Command Control Transportation 

Commanders Communications Road, Rail, Air, 

General Staffs Hardware and Water Networks 

Special Staffs Facilities Used by Assigned 

Forces 

» 

3 

It is doubtful that the Germans hypothesized about Soviet C 

in terms of a definition such as that noted above, especially as 
concerns command and control. It is practically certain that the 
Germans considered the Soviet Union to be a continuous, 
homogeneous target in which commanders, staffs, control 
personnel, communications hardware transportation, terrain, and 
the Soviet field armies and air fleets were ranged together. 
Within the total picture which presented itself to German 



71 



military planners, it is practically certain that the Germans 
developed a plan of operations which concentrated on the 
destruction of as much as possible of the Soviet armed forces as 
close as possible to the western boundaries of the Soviet Union. 
It can be argued that a particularly effective way of achieving 
such destruction would be by deft, surgical thrusts at the 
Soviet commanders and their control hardware to stun the motor 
system of the Soviet armed forces, i.e., command and control of 
the armed forces. It can also be argued that attacks 

concentrated against the Soviet transportation system would 
effect a paralysis of movement among the forces assigned to 
Soviet commanders, which would have effects virtually identical 
to those associated with a stunned command, i.e., paralysis of 
movement of the assigned forces, or, at the least, uncoordinated, 
costly attacks and misdirected movement. Neither stunning of 
enemy Command and Control nor disruption of an enemy 
transportation system, however, directly effects the destruction 
of armed forces, especially those operating relatively intact in 
their own homeland at the beginning of a war. 

The twelve German participants in Barbarossa who were 
interviewed in this study, stated that the Germans did not single 
out Soviet C^ for attack either in the planning or execution of 
the campaign. The Barbarossa veterans agreed that Soviet C^ was 
important, but pointed out from the viewpoints of both staff and 



1. See, for example, part one of The Fuehrer and Supreme 
Commander of the Armed Forces, Directive No. 21 , O peration on 
Barbarossa , 18 December 1940, as reproduced in Heinz Guderian, 
Panzer Leader (New York, 1956), p. 513. 

72 



command experience, that the locations of Soviet higher 
headquarters and lower level command posts were largely unkown. 
There are some exceptions to their generalizations. In the first 
few days of the campaign, the Luftwaffe attacked several targets 
described as "suspected billets of higher level staffs" and 
photographs exist of a damaged villa-like structure which is a 
identified as "T i moshenko' s headquarters".^ The civilian 
telephone and telegraph systems in the Soviet Union served as one 
of the most important means of communication for the Soviet 
armed forces, and the Luftwaffe recorded attacks on "telephone 
exchanges" in several of the larger cities in the path of the 
attacking German ground armies, e.g., Bialystok, Minsk, and Kiev. 
In the opening days of Barbarossa, the Luftwaffe was forced also 
to concentrate its meager resources almost entirely against the 
Soviet Air Force* As concerns attacks against the Soviet 
Russian transportation system, the Luftwaffe was faced with a 
complex, subtle picture which demanded that the bridges, roads, 
and rail lines in the path of the advancing German Panzer groups 
be left untouched while similar facilities along which the 

Soviets could withdraw come under continuous, effective attack, 
e.g., the main road from west to east through Bialystok 
described by the German infantry soldiers who passed over it as 
the "road of horrors." 1 The German plans and operations aimed 
directly at the destruction of the Soviet armed forces. The 



1. See Gene ral leu t nan t Hermann Plocher, The German Air Air 
Force Versus Russia, 1941 , USAF Historical Studies: No. 153 (New 
York, Arno Press, 1965) p. 41. See page 209 of this study for 
the Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, West Germany, photograph identified as 
"Timoshenko's headquarters". 

73 



superiority of German staff planning and the violence of the 
German advance ensured the disruption of Soviet C 3 and the 
transportation system simultaneously with the physical 
destruction of the armed forces because of the necessary 
interrelationships among Soviet C 3 , the transportation system, 
and the armed forces. 

In its attacks against Soviet air installations and 
aircraft, the Luftwaffe rendered the Red Air Force incapable of 
interfering with the advance of the German ground armies within 
the first 18 hours of the attack. One could almost say that the 
C 3 system of the Red Air Force became extraneous in the face of 
the massive destruction of the air force aircraft, airfields, 
and personnel. The German field armies succeeded in their 
attacks in advances so rapid in the Soviet Western Military 
District (Minsk), that the Soviet C 3 system in that area, which 
lies on the direct route to Moscow, became extraneous in the face 
of the encirclement of approximately 400,000 troops and 3,332 
tanks within the first five days of the campaign. The Germans 
intended to destroy physically (1) the Red Air Force across the 
entire front, and (2) the Red Army especially in the Western Mi- 
litary District. One must observe, however, that the violence of 



1. Interview , Major General Eberhard Waaermann, German Army 
(Ret.), Rheinbach, West Germany, 18 January 1980. Wagermann was 
a light infantry cannon platoon leader with a second echelon 
infantry division which marched over the road shortly after the 
air and ground attacks on the Soviet columns along it. Wagermann 
and the combat hardened German troops with him referred to the 
scene as the "road of horrors." Wagermann had already lost a leg 
in the Polish campaign but was able to participate in Barbarossa 
by riding a "small horse" and thus effectively keep up with the 
pace of combat associated with the infantry division. 

74 



the attacks, and the movement of the German field armies, suc- 
ceeded in inducing the following trauma which constituted severe 
disruption of Soviet C , but necessarily within the context of 
direct, physical destruction of the Red Air Force and the armies 
of the central front: 

German Soviet 

Attack Results C 3 Trauma 

(1) Casualties to Red Command (1) Stun, Paralyze Command 

(2) Destruction Red C 3 Hardware (2) Disrupt Control 

(3) Displace Red HQs & CPs (3) Disrupt Control 

(4) Air Atk Vs. Transport System (4) Paralyze Movement of 

Assigned Forces 

(5) Physical Overrunning of (5) Paralyze Movement, 
Transportation System Encircle, Kill, Capture 

Assigned Forces 

(6) Physical Destruction of (6) Prevent Execution of 
Red AF C 3 Orders 



At the highest governmental levels in Moscow, the Soviets 
experienced catastrophic C 3 difficulties. For significant periods 
of time the national decision makers operated without current 
intelligence because of disrupted communications links. 
Communications, particularly telephonic communications, between 
the Stavka in Moscow and the Fronts and Armies seems to have 
operated consistently, but communications from the Fronts and 
Armies to subordinate commands were frequently shattered by 
German advances which displaced or destroyed the subordinate 
units. * in either case, the end result was one in which the 



1. The Western Military District on 22 June is a 
particularly good example of this situation. On 22 June and for 
several days thereafter it had lost all but occasional 
communications of any type with its three subordinate armies, the 
3d, 4th, and 10th. See Erickson, The Road to Stalingrad , Chapter 
3, "The Sunday Blow." 

75 



Soviet leadership in Moscow was unaware of the situation at the 
front and could not make intelligent, well-informed decisions. 
The Stavka often lacked the communications means to disseminate 
key directives quickly and to control the forces involved in 
counterattacks as in the case of Soviet Directive Number 1. In 
some cases the forces designated for counterattacks had already 
been destroyed. 

One may logically deduce that the disruption inflicted upon 
the military communications system was also inflicted upon on the 
communications of the NKVD, Party, and government officials. It 
is difficult to determine the amount of disruption in the latter 
systems, but it seems reasonable to assume that when the other 
systems depended on the same communications facilities as the 
military system, the disruption was roughly the same in the other 
systems. When the other communications systems utilized 
facilities separate from the military communications facilities 
the other systems very likely survived longer that the military 
system because the civilian facilities were less obvious to the 
advancing German troops who were concentrating on military 
targets. As some authorities contend, it is very possible that 
Stalin was frequently better informed of battle developments than 
front commanders due to the separate Party Communications 
Systems. ^ It is hard to determine exactly how much better 
informed Stalin really may have been because of the frequent 



1. Albert Seaton, The Russo-German War 1941-45 , (New York, 
1970), p. 99. 

2. Intervie w , von Luttichau, See also Seaton, The R usso - 
German War , p. 85. 

76 



losses of communications at lower command levels and the problem 
of determining the value of a commodity when compared with 
something of no value 

The initial response of the national leadership of the 
Soviet Union to the extensive failure of Russian communications 
was the 23 June appointment of Marshal I. T. Peresypkin, already 
the manager of the Chief Directorate of Communication of the Red 
Army, to the People's Commissariat of Communications. ^ Marshal 
Peresypkin employed several communications battalions to ensure 
communications between Moscow and the Fronts. His new assignment 
also permitted utilization of the state communications to support 
the fronts and allowed military communications to augment the 
state as required. After only one day of battle, Soviet leaders 
were also painfully aware of the qross inadeauacies of the 
governmental and military command structure, particularly its 
inability to cope with the scope and tempo of the German 
inwsion. The Soviet Government and the Communist Party 
immediately began to formulate a politico-military command 
structure capable of responding militarily and economically to 
the German attack. During Barbarossa this command structure 
constantly adapted to the German threat and included the addition 
and deletion of several echelons of authority and decision making 
bodies . 

The paralyzing influences cast upon Soviet C^ by the German 
Wehrmacht during the initial days of Operation Barbarossa were 
not transitory although they did diminish in intensity as the 



1. H is tor y of the Great Pat r iot i c War of the Sov iet Union 
1941-1945 , p. 174. 

77 



battle moved eastward and Soviet lines of communications 
shortened. The Germans aggressively maintained . their offensive 
pressure to achieve their primary objective of eliminating Soviet 
combat forces and in so doing proliferated new C disruptions and 
perpetuated existing disorders. Reeling from several quick, 
stunning defeats, the Soviets attempted to recover from the 
surprise of the German attack and stem the advancing German tide 
in one coordinated move contained in Directive #3. Given the 
confusing state of affairs existing in Russia during June, a 
maneuver of such grand proportions could have overstressed the 
Soviet-^ System even without the disruption produced by the 
Germans. 

A multitude of chance counter-C^ occurrences was also 
inevitable in an armed conflict of the proportions of Operation 
Barbarossa. The planning and execution of the great 
encirclements of Barbarossa were remarkably successful and those 
encirclements produced immense disorder in Soviet C-* even though 
their basic purpose was to destroy the Soviet combat forces. 
Operations supporting the great encirclements, for example, air 
strikes and commando activities, were also very successful and 
produced additional disorder in Soviet C^. What is difficult, 
perhaps even impossible to describe, are the counter-C^ effects 
of those targets of opportunity fired upon, seized, or destroyed 
by German forces in the field. As only one example of this 
phenomenon, consider the advance of the 620th Mountain Engineer 



1. Interview , Nekrich, Boston, Jan. 80 

78 



Regiment after it crossed the Upper Dvina and seized the village 
of Berilawlj in July 1941. After a brief exchange of rifle fire, 
elements of the battalion seized a nearby collective farm at 
0530. As part of the attack process, the troops immediately 
disconnected the telephone at the farm, as they had in the 
village. The German soldiers carried out this act rather 
casually but nevertheless in an almost habitual manner. 1 This 
particular incident involved only two telephones. But how many 
phones were destroyed, wires cut, or messengers intercepted by 
German soldiers, performing routine duties, who had no idea of 
their contribution to the disruption of Soviet command, control, 
and communications? 

The German attacks against the Red Air Force and the Red 
Army were so effective in disrupting the Soviet C^ system that 
the two Soviet participants in Barbarossa who were interviewed in 
the course of the study stated that they felt the Germans had a 
systematic doctrine of attack against Soviet C^.2 Not one Q f t ^ e 
twelve Germans interviewed and no document or book examined in 
the study hints of a systematic German doctrine of attack against 
Soviet C^. Every one of the Germans interviewed and every 
pertinent document and book examined supports a view of the 
disintegration of Soviet C^ in front of German Army Group Center 
and its severe disruption opposite Army Groups North and South. 
One is forced to conclude that the German formula for attack 



1. E. Schmidt, Small Unit Ta ctics , (unpublished, 1952), in 
files of U. S. Army, Office of the Chief of Military History. 

2. Aleksandr Nekrich and Kamill Usfensky, both interviewed 
in Cambridge, Massachusetts, January, 1980. 

79 



against the Red Air Force and Red Army was so effective that si- 
multaneously with the destruction of the field forces, it 
stunned, paralyzed and disruped Soviet c\ such a conclusion 
raises several significant questions, the answers to which are 
important to the military survival of the West in the event of a 
war opened by a Soviet conventional attack against West Germany. 
First: do the Soviets agree with the generalization that 
vast Soviet field forces were destroyed and the associated 
commands lost control of their assigned forces? The answer to 
such a question is probably yes. The great debate which raged 
in the Soviet Union between 1945-1953 over the lessons of the 
great patriotic war pitted the concept of the advantages of 
surprise versus those of the great natural strengths of the 
fatherland and associated inevitability of victory. The more 
purely military actors in the debate emphasized the advantages 
of the element of surprise which had been exploited by the 
Germans. Josef Stalin personally led the opposing element which 
emphasized long-term factors which eventually contributed to 
victory in the Dainful four-year aftermath of Barbarossa. 
References can be found in Soviet literature which has appeared 
since the debate indicating that the carnage wrought by the 
Germans in the opening weeks was immense and unacceptable, thus 
driving the Soviets by implication to seize the advantages 
offered by a Barbarossa-type opening move at the beginning of a 
war. The study also supports a view that, in fact, the Soviets 
lost the flower of their peacetime army 1 and the Soviet High 



1. Note the conclusions in Alan Clark, Barbarossa , (New 
York, 1964), pp. 84, 85, 148, 149. 



80 



Command itself lost control of events on the road from Bialystok 
to Moscow. 

Second: what was the measure of the German victory and what 
were the reasons for it? The question is the most important for 
purposes of the study because the answer to it can provide 
specific historical insight into the practical necessities of 
Soviet strategy and tactics. The answer to the question raises 
difficulties, however, which must be carefully addressed. 
The Soviets, for example, even if they have detected certain 
German methods of operation, which gave the Germans special 

advantages within the framework of Barbarossa, may not be able 
or willing to duplicate such methods of operation. On the other 
hand, if one concedes that the Soviets have carefully studied 
the Second World War in Russia, a parallel, first hand study of 
the part predominated in by the Germans has substantial chances 
of agreeing on similar historical lessons. The Germans in fact 
seized certain strategical advantages and operated with a 
characteristic strategic and tactical style which can be 
outlined as follows: 



Advantages Seized: Advantages Held: German 

Barbarossa-Type Operation Military Historical Style 

(1) Strategic Surprise (1) Entscheidungsschlacht Concept 

(2) Tactical Surprise. (2) Auf tragstaktik Concept. 

(3) Concentration of Effort. (3) Schwerpunkt Concept. 

(4) Initiative. (4) Extreme Emphasis on Training. 

(5) Operational Experience. (5) Superiority in Small Unit 

Tactics. 



1. Auf tragstaktik refers to mission style operational 
orders . 

Schwerpunkt translates as point of main effort. 
Entscheidunasschlacht translates as battle of decision 



81 



The advantages seized or held by the Germans at the 
beginning of Barbarossa comprise a formidable list which the 
Soviets have attempted to simulate as closely as their own 
historical style will allow for the situation in Europe. The 
Soviets have probably reinforced the list with advantages based 
on their own unique perception of effectiveness in combat and 
advantages systematically culled from advances in technology. 
The present Soviet concept of a preemptive counterstr ike within 
a framework of political and military tension leading to war in 
Europe, is based on the perceived advantage of surprise or, at 
least, the seizure of the initiative at the beginning of a war. 
Such a concept stems directly from the Soviet perception of the 
disastrous results achieved against Soviet Russia in 1941, which 
were based on successful German achievement of surprise and 
seizure of the initiative. The Soviets today, however, are faced 
with a less favorable political situation for the achievement of 
military surprise because of the tense and unfriendly political 
relations between the Atlantic Community and the East European 
states from 1945 - present. The Soviets can probably achieve, 
nevertheless, a substantial if not complete surprise attack 
against the West through a phased, carefully concealed, patient 
concentration of mobile forces against West Germany. 

The expertise with which the Germans exploited the surprise 
achieved in the concentration of troops up to 0305-0315 22 June 
1941, represents perhaps more than half of the picture of German 



82 



success in Barbarossa. German historical style demanded either 
an Entscheidungsschlacht (battle of decision) or in the case of a 
vast theater of operations, a linked, continuous series of 
decisive battles leading to a military victory in the campaign. 
The necessity for such a battle with its emphasis on the 
annihilation, i.e., killing or capturing of the opposing military 
force, is the leading reason for the absence of a specific German 
doctrine of attack against the C 3 of th<=» Russians, French, Poles, 
etc. The qeneral concept of the annihilation of an opposing 
military force comfortably encompassed a modus operandi in which 
enemy C° was shattered as a necessary by-product of the general 
advance. Manstein notes, for example, the following results of 
the Panzer drive of LVI Panzer Corps through Lithuania from 22-26 
June 1941: "A tank drive such as 56 Panzer Corps made to Dvinsk 
inevitably generates confusion and panic in the communication 
zone; it ruptures the enemy's chain of command and makes it 
virtually impossible for the enemy to coordinate his counter- 
measures. " 2 

The fact that the Germans embraced the concept of a great 
decisive battle, applied that concept to Operation Barbarossa, 
and successfully achieved surprise in the opening stages of the 
campaign still did not assure them of victory in the war in the 
East. The Germanscame close to outright military victory in July 



1. The Germans attacked with artillery fire and/or movement 
of infantry and tanks across the Soviet border at 0305 in Army 
Group North and 0315 further south in Army Groups Center and 
South. 

2. Manstein, Lost Victor ies , p. 186. 

83 



1941 and the Soviets required four additional years of combat and 
the loss of approximately twenty-five . million lives to 
share with the United States, British, and the Free French 
governments a victory over the Germans. The reasons for the 
German success in June - July 1941, lie also in advantages held 
by the Germans in terms of the spirit and style in which they 
conducted military operations. Through study of the war, the 
Soviets have probably come to understand the German advantages in 
varying degree, but it is doubtful that they have developed the 
capabilities to attain the same condition. The German advantages 
lay in the achievement of the Auf trag concept of operational 
leadership and the Sch w erpunkt elaboration of the concept of 
concentration of effort, in combination with a new idea of 
flexibily organized combat groups. The Germans seasoned their 
effective historical style with a basic superiority in training 
and in small unit tactics. 

Auf trags takt i k describes a concept which comprised the 
issuing of mission type orders covering the longest periods of 
time possible in anv given situation. Under the concept, German 
military leaders gave brief orders which elaborated on missions 
to be accomplished but left the methods of accomplishment to 
subordinate commanders. Within the Auf tra£ concept of 
operations, commanders emphasized the point of main effort, or 
Sch w erpunkt , of the command, especially on the offensive. The 
concepts enumerated provide convincing reasons why the Germans in 
Barbarossa had no specific doctrine of targeting Soviet C but 
nevertheless stunned the Soviet command, disrupted control, and 
paralyzed movement along the transportation system. With the 

84 



concept of the Ents cheidungs s chlach t, the Germans focused on 
quick military victory through a battle of annihilation. Within 
such a concept, specific, elaborate destruction of Soviet C^ was 
extraneous. The general violence of the attack with the deep, 
paralyzing thrusts of the Panzer formations, the achievement of 
air supremacy by the Luftwaffe, and the superiority of German 
artillery and machine gun tactics, swept everything before it. 
Within the concept of Auftragstaktik , German commanders did not 
elaborate on the details of how to annihilate the enemy in the 
decisive battle. The concept demanded the maximum, independent 
performance from each subordinate commander, who could scarcely 
be given the mission of annihilating an enemy in a particular 
area and then be directed to employ a significant part of his 
force to attack C^ targets. The Schwer£unkt concept, in 
contrast, demanded simply that once a subordinate commander 
decided how to maneuver his formations to annihilate an enemy, he 
would without exception designate the point of main effort, e.g., 
" Sch w erpunkt right," "Schwerpunkt left," "Schwerp unkt with 
Infantry Regiment 86," etc. 

The German historical condition and the military style 
associated with it, accounts for the triad of (1) the decisive 
battle, (2) mission type orders, and (3) points of main effort in 
the German planning and execution of major offensives at the 
beqinning of a war. The triad represents a significant bit of 
intellectualizing about the way the Germans operated and the 
reasons for their virtuosity in the conduct of military 
operations. The Germans, however, did not annihilate an enemy 
with intellectual concepts, although it can be argued fairly that 

85 



such concepts are closely bound to the violence and action which 
they suggest. They did annihilate Soviet forces with the fire of 
machine guns, howitzers, and tank cannon, the release of bombs, 
etc.. The German tactical units conducted the annihilating fires 
and related manuevers with uniformly greater efficiency than the 
Soviets. The resulting German success was based on exceptional 
training, sophisticated small unit tactics, and extraordinary 
flexibility in the formation of combat groups. Training and 
small unit tactics in the German Army held probably a more 
important position than in any other army. Such a statement is 
supported by (1) the extraordinary German Tactical Training 
programs of the winter months during the First World War, which 
led to the famed infiltration attacks of 1918, (2) the specific 
delineation of the machine gun as the primary offensive weapon of 
the army, and (3) the training in the interwar Re ichsheer in 
which officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers were 
instructed in the duties of personnel one, and, in some cases two 
ranks higher than their own position. The Germans used firing 
tables with their heavy machine guns, e.g., in the German case, a 
light air-cooled gun on a tripod, in order to shoot indirect 
fire missions in support of the infantry, and one of the more 
important infantry attacks of the Second World War, the German 
parachute counterattack back into Cassino from Monastery Hill in 
March 1943, which stabilized the German position for a further 
two months of combat in Italy, was supported exclusively by a 
concentration of direct and indirect machine gun fire. The 
equipping of the German heavy machine gun with a telescopic 
sight, the lavish equipping of machine gun squad leaders with 

86 



binoculars, and the special attention given to the design of the 
light machine gun, are additional factors which point to 
extraordinary German emphasis on small unit tactics. 

The appearance of the Soviet T-34 tank with its heavy, 
sloped armor, advanced 60° v-12 (Model V-2) diesel engine, and 
moderately high velocity (662 m/sec) , large 76.2mm tank cannon, 
and several other highly respectable pieces of ordnance has 
tended to obscure the superiority of several German weapons. The 
Germans in the interwar period designed the MG-34, which was 
probably the most advanced and effective machine gun in the world 
in the Second World War. 1 The MG-34, which existed in light, 
heavy, and tank armament versions, equipped virtually all of the 
German divisions operating on the eastern front in June - July 
1941. With its moderate weight (approximately 24 pounds 
unloaded), exceptionally high cyclic rate of fire (800-900 rounds 
per minute), self-leveling bipod, and plastic components, the MG- 
34 gave the German infantry and motorized infantry squads a 
superior weapon of decision for dealing with the Soviet rifle 
squads of 1941. Armed with reliable but excessively heavy, 
clumsy, wheel-mounted air and water cooled machine guns with 
lower rates of fire, the Soviet infantry was dominated by the 
German infantry squads. 



1. The MG-34 began to be replaced in 1942 with an improved, 
less expensive version designated MG-42. The judgment on 
effectiveness is made within the context of the MG-34 and follow- 
on MG-42 family of weapons and supported by similar judgments in 
W.J.K. Davies, German Ar_my_ Handbook (N.Y., 1977), pp.137, 139; 
A.J.R. Cormack, German Small Ajrms (N.Y., 1979), p. 85; and A. J. 
Barker, German I~nf a n t r y Weapons oj: World War 2 (N.Y., 1969), 
p. 47. 



87 



The superior German squad machine guns and related superior 
small unit tactics exemplify the other half of the reasons for 
German success in Barbarossa in contrast to the more cerebral 
factors of strategic suprise, Auf tragstaktik f and the assignment 
of Schwerpunkten . The potential for violence with German machine 
guns comes into clearer focus when one realizes that within 
approximately 48 hours of H-hour on B-day, the Germans had moved 
approximately 45,000 infantry squads into the Soviet Union each 
built around an MG-34. The German potential for violence must 
also include the body of approximately 1,500 Panzer III and 
Panzer IV type tanks which were clearly superior to the great 
mass of approximately 18,000 Soviet T-26, BT-5, and BT-7 
vehicles. The German Panzer III and IV tanks were in turn 
inferior to th«=> Soviet T-34A and T-34B tanks in gun armament and 
armor thickness but had more effective command control equipment 
and superior optics and fire control apparatuses. The Germans 
also "established air superiority and even more", perhaps 
something which could be described as air supremacy, or "total 
rule" in the air. 1 By the third day of the campaign, the 
Luftwaffe began to intervene on the ground with attacks by level, 
dive, and fighter bombers which disrupted the Soviet 
transportation system and inflicted significant casualties and 
damage on troop formations. The Germans focused the combination 
of strategical initiative and tactical efficiency on the 
destruction of the opposing Soviet military forces. 
Simultaneously and as a function of the violence of the attack, 



1. Interview , Hardegg, Nuremberg, Jan 1980 

88 



the Germans inflicted immense casualties and damage on "the major 
enemy groupings" and demolished their C . 



1. General of the Army S.P. Ivanov, The Initial Period of_ 
the War (Moscow, 1974), p. 299. Ivanov makes the point FFTaT th~e 
" c h i e T~ c o n t e n t of the initial offensive operations of the Nazi 
troops was the defeat of major enemy groupings." 

89 




90 



Chapter 4 

The Army Attacks 

"It is of decisive importance for the breakthrough to push 
forward as far as possible without regard to danger from the 
flanks, with, maximum use of the mobility afforded by our tank 
engines, without rest or rest days, and with movement at night, 
limited only by the distance which fuel supplies will allow." 

(Army Group Center, Panzer Group 2, XXXXVII Panzer 
Corps, Order Number 1 for the attack against the Soviet 
Union, dated 13 June 1941) 1 

It was still dark but the weather was near perfect with warm 
termperatures and only a few clouds in the night sky. Unlike the 
scene a year earlier and 800 miles further west, where an 
airborne assault had dictated the time for an attack, the German 
Army mandated the onset of civil twilight as the time for the 
beginning of the new operation. 2 The new operation was big by 
any standard. It was to be the biggest offensive in military 
history. The time was about 0300, and Barbarossa was soon to 
unfold. 

German assault troops lay in the summer grass, behind rail- 
way embankments, in ditches along the unpaved roads, in forests, 
and along the banks of rivers stretching from the Baltic Sea to 
central Roumania. More than 45,000 infantry squads lay there, 



1. XXXXVII Panzer Korps, Anlagen Nr. 1-100 , Kr iegstagebuch 
Nr. 2, 20.5-27.6.1941, Bundesarchiv, Freiburg, 13468/1. 

2. The Luftwaffe preferred to attack after first light and 
before the Army in order to catch the Red Air Force on the ground 
and unwarned by the opening of operations by the Army. The Army 
demanded that the attack go in at first light even though the 
Luftwaffe would need upwards of 35 minutes after that time to 
reach the first targets, i.e., the Soviets would have 35 minutes 
to take off and escape the consequence of strategic and tactical 
surprise. The Army won the struggle but in turn ran into 
difficulties in setting the exact time for the attack. 

91 



not smoking, not talking, in almost total darkness. The 
potential for violence was great: 360,000 loaded rifles, 45,000 
belted or drummed light machine guns, and 45,000 magazine-heavy 
machine pistols. Almost 3,200 tank crews manned silent, darkened 
vehicles whose engines in minutes would announce the advance of 
three quarters of a million tank horsepower into the Soviet occu- 
pied parts of Lithuania, Poland, and Roumania. More than 900 
combat aircrews worked their way into tactical formation over 
their bases and began the run to the Soviet frontier in the 
final minutes before civil twilight from airfields averaging 
about 100 km back from the borders. The hammer was raised. 
What about the anvil? 

Except for several areas in the sector opposite German Army 
Group North, where some Soviet units had gone into defensive 
positions near the border at approximately the time of the 
attack, the Red Army lay sleeping. The Soviet troops slept in 
primitive wooden barracks, open summer bivouacs, or in civilian 
quarters on leave passes with friends in the villages and cities 
of the recently expanded, western Soviet Union. They slept in a 
somber landscape that stretches through the great forests of 
Lithuania and White Russia, the swampland of the Pripyat 
Marshes, the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, the grassy 
plains and deep ravines of the Ukraine down to a southern sea. 
The men of more than 40,000 Soviet rifle squads in an immense 
peacetime army lay sleeping in the relaxed disarray of an early 
Sunday morning. More than 10,000 Soviet tank crews slept near a 
huge number of armored vehicles spread liberally among the Soviet 
infantry divisions and concentrated in greater numbers in nine 

92 



mechanized corps in the western Soviet Union. Approximately 
7,000 air crews manning the same number of military aircraft lay 
in billets in and around dozens of formal air bases and a 
greater number of small tactical air strips. The Soviets had 
also approximately 7,000 additional tanks and 5,000 additional 
aircraft capable of being fed into the conflict in the event 
that it lasted for more than several weeks and the crews could 
be mobilized and linked with the machines. Production of more 
modern tanks and aircraft was also just beginning to accelerate 
in the middle of 1941, and a huge pool of military manpower was 
available to expand the Red Army and Air Force far above the 
peacetime figure of approximately 2,500,000 personnel. Never 
had such a formidable anvil been struck by so relatively small a 
hammer. The Germans needed something special indeed to 
compensate for the gross numerical deficiencies in the attacking 
force and several qualitative deficiencies which would soon be 
revealed. 

Probably the single most important strategic advantage that 
the Germans would attempt to seize at first light on Sunday 22 
June 1941, was surprise. Surprise was the strategic commodity 
which would enable the Germans to seize the initiative and 
concentrate their field armies on achieving a clear cut military 
victory within chosen space and time. Surprise could compensate 
for a general deficiency in numbers and several specific 



1* Intervie w , Maj. Gen. Rudolf Loytved-Hardegg , Air Force 
(Ret.), Nuremberg, W. Germany, 18 Jan. 80. Loytved-Hardegg 
stated that as intelligence officer for Luftflotte 1, but with 
planning responsibility to locate the Soviet military airfields 
in the entire western Soviet Union, he and his assistants 

identified "2,000-2,200" such fields. 

93 










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35 



deficiencies in the technical qualities of German material.^ 
Strategic surprise comprised many factors at the beginning of 
Barbarossa and bestowed several potentially decisive advantages 
on the Germans. Some of The factors constituting surprise and 
the potential advantages to the Germans were the following ones: 
Factor of Strategic Surprise German Advantage 

(1) Uncertainty of War (1) Soviet Peacetime Opns 

Mode 

(2) German Time of Attack (2) Soviets Surprised Tac- 

tically 

(3) German Point of Main Effort (3)Soviet Strategic De- 

ployment Defective 

(4) German Scheme of Maneuver (4) Soviet Loss of the 

Initiative 

(5) German Mobility (5) Soviet Strategy of 

Holding on Frontier 

(6) German Firepower (6)Soviet MG and Artil- 

lery Weaknesses 

If the Germans could keep the question of war substantially 
uncertain, the Soviets would probably maintain their airfields 
operating with densely packed peacetime parking areas and provide 
the Germans with the opportunity to eliminate the Red Air Force 
from the war. The Soviets would also keep all the frontier 
bridges intact with the resulting opportunity for the German 
field armies or other special forces to seize them undamaged. If 
the Germans could deceive the Soviets as to the question of the 
opening of a war, it follows almost as an axiom that they could 



.1. The Germans possessed a mild numerical advantage on the 
opening day of the campaign which would rapidly change to a dis- 
advantage as the Soviets mobilized reserves and entirely new 
units. The Germans had two critical materiel deficiencies: (1) 
the most numerous German antitank gun in the Barbarossa forces 
was the 37mm L-45 cannon which proved incapable of damaging the 
Soviet T-34 and KV series tanks, and, (2) the Panzerka mpfw agen 
III main battle tank armed with the 50mm, L-42 cannon, which also 
was largely incapable of inflicting damage on the heavier, more 
modern tanks of the Soviet tank inventory. 

96 



also select a main axis of advance which would (a) render the 
entire Soviet deployment of forces defective, and (b) subject the 
Soviets to defeat in the war as a result of the initial 
strategical misdirection of the defensive effort. If the 
Germans could next put together within the area of main effort a 
scheme of maneuver with the pace and destructive capabilities to 
keep the Soviets off balance, i.e., not allow them to rearrange 
and reinforce their defectively deployed armies, the Germans 
could press forward to the seizure of strategical terrain in the 
Soviet Union the loss of which would result in the collapse of 
the Soviet war effort. A key element, finally, contributing to 
the success or failure of the Soviet defense would be the Soviet 
calculation of the mobility and firepower of the German divisions 
executing the schemes of maneuver. If, for example, the Soviets 
underestimated German mobility, i.e., were surprised by the 
rapidity of German movement, their defensive strategy and 
associated tactical movements in reaction to the German 
initiatives would likely range from inadequate to self- 
defeating . 

The Germans would start the war with immense advantages if 
they could achieve strategic surprise, and they took severe pre- 
cautions to limit knowledge of the impending offensive and dis- 
guise the necessary buildup of forces. Did the Germans, however, 
achieve surprise in the opening stages of Barbarossa? And, 
accepting a premise that surprise was a driving consideration in 
the opening of Barbarossa, a basic question for purposes of the 
study would be: what doctrine or special emphasis did the Germans 
bring to bear in the planning and execution of Barbarossa to 

97 



disrupt Soviet Command, Control, and Communications? The ques- 
tion of German disruption of Soviet C 3 in the opening stages of 
Barbarossa must be set, in other words, within the framework of 
the German attempt to achieve strategic surprise. 

The question of whether or not the German field armies and 
air fleets achieved surprise has been addressed by most 
commentators on Barbarossa but with ambiguous and indecisive 
interpretation. The ambiguity is attributable to the different 
levels at which surprise has been considered At the strategic 
level, commentators have a tendency to agree that Stalin, and, 
by implication, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of 
the Soviet Union and the high command of the Army, had 
information months before June 1941, which could be interpreted 
to indicate German plans and preparations for an attack. Such 
agreement tends to support a view that the Soviet political and 
military high commands were not surprised, i.e., confounded, 
overwhelmed, dumbfounded, bewildered, by the German attack. Yet 
the point remains that much of the information received by the 
higher level political figures was not of authenticity great 
enough to risk a hostile move against National Socialist 
Germany, and the fact persists that the high command failed to 
institute any plan to raise the state of alert of the great Red 
force deployed near the western boundaries of the state. At the 
strategic level of consideration, the Soviet political military 
leadership in 1941 remained unconvinced of the German intentions 
to launch an all out attack and was surprised by the time and 
point of main effort of the offensive and the violence and 
rapidity of the ensuing German action. 

98 



Among the tactical formations of the Red Army, the picture 
as concerns surprise is a mixed one. The Soviet tactical forma- 
tions, e.g., divisions, corps, and armies, were constrained by 
the political policy of non-provocation and correctness vis-a- 
vis the Germans, to adopt a relaxed, peacetime alert status. 
Both the field armies and the special border forces of the 
Commissariat of the Interior were forbidden to violate the 
border in order to collect information to verify German 
intentions. To compound the Soviet problem, the Germans 
effected the final concentration of their forces on the border 
approximately 15-72 hours before the attack. Before that time, 
the Germans held the border lightly, echeloned their combat 
divisions in great depth behind it, and maintained radio 
silence.^ For the final concentration on the border the Germans 
moved at night and concealed themselves during the daytime in 
the forests of Poland and East Prussia. Even if the Red Army 
units and the border guards near the Reich frontier had been 
more alert tactically and less concerned about border provo- 
cation, they would have observed little activity near the border 
up until 19 June 1941. Even after that date, the Germans moved 
forward under severely enforced conditions of march secrecy, and 
the Red Army would have had difficulty in deducing at the 
tactical level that a major offensive was imminent. 



1. In a considerable technical achievement, the Germans 
maintained absolute radio silence among the Barbarossa forces, 
and when they launched the attack between 0305 and 0315, 22 June 
1941, the Germans activated almost simultaneously hundreds of 
command, logistical, intelligence, etc. radio nets among the 2000 
battalions, regiments, divisions, corps, and armies massed for 
the offensive. 



99 



In spite of German precautions in the concentration for the 
attack and Soviet emphasis on an inoffensive military alert 
posture on the western borders, the Red Army was not caught 
everywhere by surprise. Opposite several divisions in Army 
Group North, the Germans noted that the Russians were in their 
field fortifications ready to fight when the attack began. 
Opposite Army Groups Center and South, in contrast, the Russians 
were taken almost completely by surprise at the tactical level, 
but heavy fighting developed quickly opposite Army Group South. 
In the south, the Soviets had deployed particularly strong forces 
in anticipation of a potential future German attack motivated by 
the desire to seize the agricultural and mineral resources of the 
Ukraine. The German Sch w erpu nk t in the campaign lay farther 
north in the area of Army GroupCenter, and the Germans realized 
a greater measure of tactical surprise there The tactical 
surprise, which the Germans attained across most of the front 
within the broader context of strategical surprise, was 
important but lasted for only a brief moment. Literally as the 
minutes ticked by in the opening fire missions of Barbarossa, 
tactical surprise and the advantages associated with it melted 
away, i.e., the Red Army formations knew they were under attack 
and began to fight back with increasing effect. The more 
enduring factor which the Germans seized and held as tactical 
surprise faded on the border was the initiative in point and 
time of attack. The Germans gained at least one special 
advantage from tactical surprise at the opening of the campaign 
and that was the seizure of dozens of bridges along the 
watercourses which lay along the frontier between the Reich and 

100 



the Soviet Union. Possession of the bridges gave the Germans the 
capability to drive ahead with the extraordinary mobility which 
characterized the opening stages of Barbarossa. 

The Red Air Force, because of the vulnerability of its 
highly visible aircraft and air facilities, suffered almost 
irreversible damage from the German exploitation of tactical 
surprise. The Red Army, in contrast, was relatively 
insensitive to tactical surprise. From the strategic viewpoint 
of the initial arrangement or deployment of its forces, however, 
the Red Armv was, almost immediately in near-mortal danger from 
the German attack. The deployment of the Red Army along the 
Reich border was inefficient from both defensive and offensive 
viewpoints. If one assumes that the Soviets were in a defensive 
deployment, the massing of forces forward in "the Bialystok and 
Lemberg salients represents incredible naivety about the 
strength of a modern military offensive and a gross under- 
estimation of German mobility and firepower. The deployment also 
supports a view that the Soviets were completely surprised for 
all practical purposes by the time of attack, point of main 
effort, and the scheme of maneuver of the German field armies. 
If one assumes that the Soviets were in an offensive deployment, 
or some stage of transition toward an offensive concentration, 
the massing of forces near Bialystok and Lemberg was an 
effective arrangement for an attack. The arrangement would have 
represented, however, a drastic misapprehension on the part of 
the Soviets about the pending German attack. The Soviets could 
scarcely be considered to have convincing evidence in their 
possession which supported the existence of an incoming German 

101 



offensive while continuing to plan their own offensive at a 
relatively unhurried pace. The Soviets were, in fact, in the 
throes of reorganizing their tank formations into balanced, 
combined arms divisions similar to the German Panzer divisions, 
reequipping the tank formation with T-34 medium and KV series 
heavy tanks, and modernizing the Red Air Force. 

The Germans achieved both strategic and tactical surprise in 
the opening of Barbarossa although both types or levels of 
surprise must be considered as interdependent. Strategic 
surprise was the more important of the two factors with tactical 
surprise at the beginning of Barbarossa depending almost 
completely on the Soviet strategical assumption of the 
continuation of peace. Under the heading of strategical 
surprise, the Germans also exploited the defective initial 
deployment and qualitative inferiority of the Red Army into a 
stunning series of military victories. The Red Army deployment 
of the field armies up against the Reich border in the Bialystok 
salient resulted in a heavy concentration of Red Army divisions 
forward where they could be encircled by the more mobile German 
Panzer and motorized infantry divisions and pinned down and 
destroyed by the hard marching infantry divisions. Soviet 
military strategy was circumscribed by an initial deployment of 
forces too far forward and further weakened by establishment of 
the main defensive effort south in the Ukraine. The Soviets 
embraced a military strategy of stubborn resistance all along 
the border and attempted to hold on to as much terrain as 
possible. The strategy, which was driven significantly by 
consideration of political prestige and credibility in a state 

102 



sensitive to a nationalities problem and the traditional 
preeminence of the Great Russians, was a near-fatal one when fit 
together with the German strategy of sweeping encirclements 
around Bialystok, Minsk, and Smolensk. 

The question of what doctrine or special emphasis the 
Germans brought to bear in the planning and execution of 
Barbarossa on the subject of Soviet C 3 lies within the German 
attempt (1) to achieve surprise, and (2) to fight within that 
framework, the great, historically driven P r us so-German 
Entscheidungsschlacht . Any German attack on Soviet C would have 
the purpose to contribute to the success of the great battle of 
decision, and the question of what results the Germans sought in 
such a battle would seem to be the correct one to ask to 
ascertain the significance of counter C operations in 

Barbarossa. To discover the deqree to which the German Army 
specifically targeted Soviet C 3 and the disruption that they 
actually achieved in the opening stages of the campaign, the 
authors interviewed in Germany eight Army officers who had 
participated in the planning and/or execution of Barbarossa. The 
officers were distributed among command and staff billets as 
follows with striking difference among the levels at which they 
observed the campaign unfold: 



103 



Army Officer Participants in Barbarossa 

(1) Gen. (Ret.) J. -A. Graf Kielraansegg (G-3, 6.PZ.D.) 

(2) Maj.Gen. Alexander Fr ever t-Niedermein (Squadron 
Ldr, AA26, 86. 1. D.) 

(3) Maj.Gen. (Ret.) Peter von der Groeben fAsst G-3, 
Army Group Center) 

(4) Maj.Gen. (Ret.) Detlev von Plato (G-4, l.Pz.D.) 

(5) Maj.Gen. (Ret.) Guenter Pape (CO, I.Bn, S.R. 394, 
3.PZ.D.) 

(6) Maj.Gen. (Ret.) Dr. Eberhard Wagermann (Light Inf. 
Gun Plat. Cmdr., 23. 1. D.) 

(7) Mr. Noack (Armored Inf. Company CO, 7.Pz.D.) 

(8) Mr. Charles von Luttichau (Army intelligence) 

The participants were asked a similar set of questions about 
terrain objectives for maneuver and targets for fire in 
Barbarossa and it became clear at both the higher levels of 
consideration, e.g., Headquarters, Army Group Center, and 
tactical levels, e.g., light infantry gun platoon, that the 
Germans interviewed saw the combat in Soviet Russia as an 
exercise in the phys ical destruction of the opposinq Red Army 
divisions. The participants were asked specifically whether or 
not the Germans in the planning or execution had a conscious, 
specific doctrine of attack against Soviet C 3 in the opening 
stages of Barbarossa. The Army and Luftwaffe officers alike 
answered unanimously that no such doctrine existed. Major 
General Guenter Pape answered with great decisiveness that it was 
unrealistic, i.e., constituted an unreal intellectual 
abstraction, to break out C 3 from the continuum of 
relationships, units, and combat in which it existed. Major 
General Peter von der Groeben stated that the planning 



1. Dr. Klink, presently scientific director at the 
Militaer-Geschichtlichen Forschungsamt , Freiburg-im-Breisgau, W. 
Germany, was interviewed relative to his experiences in 
Barbarossa in a Waffen SS division. 



104 



accomplished and orders issued at Army Group Center involved no 
references to Soviet C • Major General Detlev von Plato as G-4 
of the 6th Panzer Division stated that "at the level of the 
division, we never had intelligence satisfactory enough to 
attack Soviet C 3 .» General J. A. Graf Kielmansegg added that 
"the main point was to get at the enemy force and make it unable 
to fight." He elaborated that the idea of unable to fight could 
be equated with killed and captured Soviet troops and bent and 

burning Soviet equipment. He added finally that the overrunning 

•I 

of the enemy formation itself destroyed C as a part of the 

smashing of the enemy force. When approached on the same subject 
of C 3 but obliquely in terms of the question: what targets did 
you designate for attack within the sector of the 6th Panzer 
Division, he answered testily, "the main 'target 1 is to destroy 
the enemy." 

The same officers agreed, however, that Soviet command posts 
and headquarters were extremely important and when located were 
targeted by artillery and attacked where possible by mobile 
ground formations. Major General Frevert-Niedermein, who served 
as leader of the Rei ter (horse) squadron, 26th Reconnaissance 
Battalion, 86th Infantry Division, noted that the forward 
element of the division "tried to disrupt the organization of 
the enemy" and that "the general orders for the cavalry were 
always to find, attack, and disrupt enemy headquarters." 
Frevert-Niedermein and most of the other Army officers 
interviewed stated that Soviet headquarters were difficult to 
pinpoint. The Army and Air Force Staff officers who 
participated in planning noted that German intelligence was 

105 



simply unable to uncover anything more than a few higher level 
headquarters. The commanders who executed the attack stated 
similarly that Soviet command posts and headquarters were much 
smaller and more primitive than the German and extremely 
difficult to locate. Major General Frevert-Niedermein noted, for 
example, that the command post of the relatively large Soviet 
infantry division, of June 1941, would be a small complex of a 
few people, one or two motor vehicles, no radios, minimal 
tentage, and depend heavily on low quality military telephone 
equipment and local civilian telephone and telegraph networks 
for communication. Such a primitive complex was difficult to 
find and distinguish as being a command post, e.g., the forest of 
antennas and mass of motor vehicles associated with the Western 
divisions of the same day were simply absent even with the large 
Red infantry divisions as constituted by the directives of 
September 1939.^ The Germans interviewed made it clear that the 
Red Army of June 1941 possessed relatively primitive C^ which was 
in turn linked with an extremely backward transportation network 
comprised of unpaved roads and thinly spread rail system. The 
picture of Soviet C"^ which emerges is one of a system using 
relatively few radios, dependent heavily on military and 
civilian telephone equipment and lines and concentrated in 
relatively small field command posts and modest headquarters, 
which because of the Soviet xenophobia and the penchant for 
secrecy remained largely undi scover able by the Germans in the 



1. Based on their experiences in the Finnish War (1939- 
1940), the Soviets had begun to reorganize the large (18,800 men) 
model September 1939 divisions into more compact (14,400 men) 
divisions under a directive of May 1941. 

106 



planning for Barbarossa and elusive during the campaign itself. 

3 
Yet the fact remains that Soviet C disintegrated almost 

immediately under the impact of the German attack in the Western 

Military District, and various Soviet sources of information on 

the campaign imply or directly state that the Germans with 

clearcut purpose demolished Soviet C • The two Soviet 

participants in the opening stages of Barbarossa, who were 

interviewed in the course of the study, stated that they 

"believed" the Germans purposefully and methodically attacked 

Soviet C*^.^ Tne emphasis must be on the word, "believe," 

because the interviewees could offer no proof of German intent 

and based their belief on the disruption accomplished by the 

Germans, which was so extensive that it supports a view of 

specific intent. The evidence from the German Army participants 

in Barbarossa, the German Army records, and the vast literature 

on the subject, rejects the presence of German counter 3 doctrine 

in the opening stages of Barbarossa or during the remainder of 

the four-year campaign. The German statements on the opening 

stages of Barbarossa, however, agree with the Soviet view of 

chaos and carnage in the Western Military District (after 23 

June 1941, designated by the Soviets as the Western Front) and 

offer overwhelming evidence of the breakdown of Soviet C . 

Whatever the Germans did in the opening stages of 

Barbarossa, it resulted in the immediate disintegration of 

Soviet C 3 , the encirclement and destruction of seven Soviet 



1. Mr. Aleksandr Nekrich and Mr. Kamill Usfensky. The 
former is a well known author and accomplished researcher on the 
events of the Russo-German Campaign. 

107 



armies opposite Army Group Center, and the defeat of the Red Army 
forces opposite Army Groups North and South. Within the 
political framework of a surprise attack against an ostensibly 
friendly Soviet Union, with which National Socialist Germany had 
a recent nonaggress ion pact of immense practical benefit to both 
parties, the German Army planned from July 1940-June 194 1 a vast 
offensive. The Army envisioned a secret, gradual, innocuous 
A ufmarsch or concentration of forces for the offensive followed 
by a set of operations calculated to defeat the Soviet Union in a 
s ing le , swift campaign, i.e., in one campaigning season. The 
operations foreseen in OKW Directive No. 21 (Case Barbarossa) 
were transformed into reality through a set of plans extending 
from army group through army, corps, and division. Those plans 
exemplify the Army's dedication to a battle of decision and the 
concomitant smashing of the Red Army. 

The Germans made no reference in the documents examined to 
a concept of stunning their opponent through special attacks on 
his C either accompanied or followed by general attacks against 
an assumed dis intearating enemy. The Germans made reference in 
their documents to the destruction of the Red Army as far west 
as possible and in the shortest period of time. Perhaps the 
most important part of Fuehrer Directive No. 21 is the first two 
sentences of the General Intention which state: "The bulk of the 
Russian Army stationed in Western Russia will be destroyed by 



1. Directive 21, was one of a slender category of 74 
directives put out through OKW with additional special qualities 
which caused them to be designated Fuehrer Directives. See H. R. 
Trevor-Roper, ed. Blitzkrie g to Defeat, Hitler's War Direct i ves, 
1939-1945 (New York, 1964), pp. xxi, 48-52. 

108 



daring operations led by deeply penetrating armored spearheads. 
Russian forces still capable of giving battle will be prevented 
from withdrawing into the depths of Russia." To carry out the 
intention, the German Army and Luftwaffe planned three sets of 
ground operations and a great air strike to secure the 
destruction of the Soviet forces stationed near the frontier. 
The emphasis in the ground operations and the air strike, to the 
exclusion of virtually any other consideration, was the smashing 
of the opposing combat forces. 

Fuehrer Directive No. 21 designated the Schw erpunk t of the 
offensive against the Soviet Union as lying north of the Pripyat 
Marshes and in turn within the sector of Army Group Center. 
Field Marshal Fedor von Bock's army group planned the most 
daring and deeply oriented thrusts of the campaign. Taking 
advantage of surprise by exploiting the associated factors of 
initiative and concentration of effort, von Bock deployed his 
mobile assets of Panzer and motorized infantry divisions in two 
groups on the extreme northern and southern wings of the 
advance. General Heinz Guderian, the creator of the German 
armored force and possibly its most talented leader, was to 
drive the 350 kilometers to Minsk swiftly enought to prevent the 
three Red field armies in the Bialystok salient "from 
withdrawing into the depths of Russia." Guderian would lead his 
Panzer Group of eight mobile divisions from the area around 
Brest-Litovsk northeast towards Minsk. General Hermann Hoth, 
slender, wiry, nimble in thought and action, and ultraaggressive 
was to drive a somewhat shorter distance of 320 kilometers to 
Minsk, link up with Guderian, and prevent the Bialystok Soviets 

109 



X 



from withdrawing eastward. Hoth would lead his Panzer Group of 
seven mobile divisions from the area of the Suwalki appendi 
northeast toward Vilna then southeast toward Minsk. With luck, 
from a German viewpoint, Guderian and Hoth would meet at 
approximately the same time in Minsk and the Red Army troops of 
the 3rd f 4th, and 10th Armies would be put as cats in a bag. If 
all went well, i.e., the infantry armies of Field Marshal 
Guenther von Kluge and General Adolf Strauss followed closely, 
maintained the lines of encirclement, and quickly reduced the 
pockets, the mobile groups would press on immediately in a 
second great double envelopment anticipated to close at Smolensk 
and culminate in the seizure of the land bridge to Moscow. The 
next step would be the advance to Moscow, destruction of the 
Soviet forces defending it, and the seizure of strategic terrain 

around it resulting in the collapse of the Soviet war effort.! 

Thus lay the German plans in the area of Army Group Center 
— the area in which the Sch w erpunk t for Barbarossa had been 
chosen and the Enstcheidungsschlacht would be fouqht. The 
minute hands on hundreds of thousands of wrist watches moved 
past 0300 and when they reached 0305 in the area of Army Group 
North and Panzer Group 3 of Army Group Center, German artillery 
there opened fire and special army assault detachments moved to 
seize the bridges close to the border which were necessary for 
the advance. Farther south in Army Group Center and Army Group 



1. The higher army commanders contemporaneously recorded 
their support for the singleminded drive to Moscow. Adolf 
Hitler, alone and uniquely, had objections to the Moscow plan. 
When the time for decision on the final drive to Moscow came on 
schedule toward the end of July, Hitler vacillated for weeks and 
finally imposed a great southern detour on the armies. 



110 



South, the German artillery opened fire at 0315 and similar 
special assault detachments moved to seize the former Polish 
bridges near the frontier. Within a period of ten minutes the 
Germans attacked across hundreds of miles of frontier. Shortly 
before the artillery opened fire, approximately 900 Luftwaffe 
combat aircraft moved down East Prussian, Polish, and Rumanian 
runways shortly before first light, gathered themselves into 
attack formations, and between 0305-0315 crossed the frontier. 
The Luftwaffe formations, consisting largely of twin engined JU- 
88 and He-III medium bombers and powerful fighter escorts, swept 
on largely toward 34 Soviet airfields which had been 
systematically and patiently uncovered by Air Fleet-level 
intelligence during the preparations for Barbarossa. The Air 
crews had every-reason to believe that when they arrived at the 
fields, more than 1,000 Red Air Force machines would be lined up 
on them. Meanwhile, on the ground, 45,000 infantry squads and 
3,200 tanks supported by 8,000 pieces of artillery and infantry 
guns had begun to move toward the east. The Germans advanced in 
accordance with a plan, exerted a powerful initiative, and 
concentrated their effort in point and time. Although it seems 
inconceiveable today, the father of the present Soviet Army and 
Air Forces was moved like a leaf in the wind by the German 
onslaught. 

As the Germans advanced early on Sunday morning, 



1. Pieces of artillery and infantry guns comprised the fol- 
lowing array of weapons none smaller than 75mm bore diameter: 
75mm, 150mm infantry guns and 100mm, 105mm, 150mm, 170mm, and 
204mm rifled howitzers and guns. 

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Illustration 10. 



GERMAN OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT: German main battle tank, 
PzKw III, on the largest and finest highway in the 
Soviet Union, the read from Minsk to Moscow. The road 
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electrical lines on one side. 



113 







Illustration 11. GERMAN OFFENSIVE MOVEMENT: Shown above are Czech-built 
TNHP-3S tanks used by the Germans in Army Group North 
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was severely reduced by such roads and engine cylinder 
wear increased by the omnipresent dust. 



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particularly in Southern Lithuania and White Russia, they began 
a process of disintegration of the Soviet field armies which can 
be characterized in terms of the following trauma: 

German Disintegration of the Red Army (June-July 1941) 

(1) Disruption of Soviet Command, Control and Communications 
(C ) over and among the field armies. 

(2) Disruption of the Soviet Transportation System on 
which the field army moved. 

(3) Direct Physical Destruction of the divisions in the 
field armies. 

The Germans did not have enough accurate intelligence by 22 
June 1941 to target for artillery fire or aerial bombardment more 
than a handful of "suspected" Soviet military headquarters in the 
opening hours of Barbarossa. Many Red Army headquarters and 
field command posts, however, were located close to the Reich 
frontier were they were subject to being brought under fire and 
overrun physically by various combinations of German riflemen, 
machine gun sections and tanks. The same targets were also 
quickly brought under attack as targets of opportunity by the 
agile and flexible German artillery but probably more often as 
the command posts found themselves among Red Army formations 
being buffeted about by the German assault. The Soviet 3rd Army 
under Lt. Gen. V. I. Kuznetsov had its headquarters at Grodno, a 
scant 27 kilometers from the Reich frontier in 1941. Elements 
of the Germans 8th Infantry Division moved into the outskirts of 
the city by 2000, 22 June 1941, having forced the physical 
deplacement of the headquarters of the Soviet 3rd Army from 
Grodno hours earlier. The German 8th Infantry Division and its 
neighbors on each side in order to get to Grodno had smashed 



118 



their way through three Soviet rifle divisions, the Soviet 54th 
Armor Brigade, and overrun the headquarters of the Soviet 4th 
Rifle Corps. The German 8th Infantry Division in moving against 
the Soviet infantry and armor came under fierce tank 
counterattack which lasted "from noon to dark," and came in 
packs of 20-40 vehicles. The division estimated it destroyed 80 
Soviet tanks in the heavy engagements. 1 within 17 hours of the 
opening of the campaign Soviet C 3 within the 3rd Army was in the 
following shambles: 

Collapse of Soviet C 3 around Grodno/3rd Army 

(1) Remnants of Headquarters, 3rd Army forced to flee 
eastward under threat of being physicall overrun by German 8th 
Infantry Division. Most of staff KIA or WIA in air attack 
earlier in day. 

(2) Headquarters of 4th Rifle Corps forced to flee 
southeastward by the German 246th Infantry Division. 

(3) Headquarters of Soviet 27th, 56th, and 143rd Rifle 
Divisions forced to displace eastward along with every other 
subordinate command element in the divisions not killed or 
captured by the Germans. 

Forced to move physically during the afternoon of 22 June 
1941, the remnants of Headquarters, Soviet 3rd Army, lost 
contact with both the higher command in the Western Military 
District 265 kilometers to the rear at Minsk and the subordinate 
elements within its own army. The Soviet commanders and their 
instruments of control in the area of the 3rd Army existed, of 



1. See VII.Armee Korps, Abt.IC, Gef angenenvernehmungen von 
23.6.41-24.10.41. dated 23.6.41, 0700 hours. Bundesar chi v , 
Freiburg, RH 24-8/127. 

2. See Heeres Gruppe Mitte, Tagesme ldunge n, 22.6.41- 
23.6.41, Bundesarchiv, Freiburg, RH 19 11/128. 

119 



course, not as an end in themselves, but to direct the movements 
of the various combat formations of the army across the 
transportation system in that part of White Russia. Within the 
same 17 hours that Soviet C was directly threatened, overrun, 
displaced, and disrupted, the Soviet commanders were faced with 
at least two additional factors which tended to make C^ 
academic. First the casualties' and damage inflicted on three 
Soviet rifle divisions and their scattering to the east, not 
only destroyed the C J system within those formations, but also 
plucked them out of consideration for use by higher level 
commanders. Second, the Germans physically seized the roads 
bridges, culverts, intersections, telephone and rail lines over 
which they advanced denying them to the Soviets and making 
orders passed to Red Army units through the Soviet C system 
impossible to execute because of the occupation of the 
transportation system by the German field armies and its 
bombardment (after several days into the campaign) by the 
Luftwaffe. 

Farther south around Kobryn (Kobrin), where the Soviet 4th 
Army under Maj. Gen. A. A. Korobkov had its headquarters, the 
southern spearhead of the encirclement planned by Army Group 
Center gained momentum. The German 18th Panzer Division of 
Panzer Group 2 which jumped off just north of Brest, advanced 65 
kilometers into Soviet-occupied Poland reaching the area 
directly north of Korobkov's 4th Army headquarters just before 
darkness on Sunday evening. In doing so, the German 18th Panzer 
Division cut all of Korobkov's direct telephone communications 
with the infantry and cavalry divisions lying south of Brest 

120 



leaving him with limited control over one badly mauled rifle 
division, one intact rifle division, and the remainder of the 
Soviet 54th Armored Brigade. The Germans did not stop for 
darkness and later in the evening at about midnight, drove into 
Kobryn itself. Advanced elements of the 3rd Panzer Division 
forced the headquarters of the Soviet 4th Army to displace 
eastward and shattered most of what remained of Soviet C^ in the 
area of that army. Marching hard on foot behind the Panzer 
divisions, the German 34th Infantry Division more thoroughly 
worked over the terrain along the road from Brest to Kobryn. 
Farther south, the German 1st 'Cavalry Division and the 
Vor au sab tei lung (VA) or advanced detachment of the German 255th 
Infantry Division seized Malorita with its telephone exchange, 
rail line, and main road, and broke up communications within the 
southern wing of the 4th Army. 

Literally in the eye of the German storm, the Soviet 10th 
Army of Maj. Gen. K. D. Golubev with its headquarters at 
Bialystok stood relatively unscathed on the first day of 
Barbarossa. The German infantry armies advancing inside each of 
the Panzer groups gradually built up heavy pressure aqainst the 
northern and southern flanks of the Soviet 10th Army. As late 
as two days later, in response to orders from Headquarters, 
Western Front, Golubev launched his intact 6th and 11th 
Mechanized Corps against the German infantry divisions of Lt. 
Gen. Adolf Strauss' 9th Army south of Grodno. Strauss' army was 
attempting by 24 June 1941, to hem in, pin down, and destroy 
Soviet forces which would only 70 hours later be encircled by the 
arrival of Panzer divisions of Hoth and Guderian at Minsk 280 

121 



kilometers farther east. The Soviet commander of the Western 
Front, General G. D. Pavlov, and the commander of the 10th Army 
had lost track of the movements of the deeply penetrating German 
Panzer force. The two Russian generals should have been 
withdrawing their divisions as rapidly as possible to the East 
through Minsk to escape the encirclement which would be complete 
three days later. The generals instead ordered far to the west a 
major attack in a northerly direction which foundered on the 37mm 
antitank guns of the antitank battalions and regimental antitank 
companies of the German 162nd and 256th Infantry Divisions. 
Farther to the north, opposite the Soviet Baltic Military 
District, German Army Group North advanced in terrain which 
favored the defender and was characterized by great forests, 
unpaved sandy roads, swamps, and numerous rivers often winding 
through narrow, precipitously sloped valleys. Army Group North, 
nevertheless, scored an impressive breakthrough of the Soviet 
frontier defenses on the first day of Barbrossa. The LVI Panzer 
Corps under Lt. Gen. Erich von Manstein, through some special 
combination of fortune and skill, found a relatively weak spot in 
the Soviet defenses in Lithuania. Attacking just north of the 
Nieman (Nemunas) River, the German 8th Panzer Division under 
Brig. Gen. Br andenberger drove eastward 80 kilometers into 
Lithuania seizing the bridge over the great Dubissa (Dubysa) 
River gorge at Ariogala just as darkness was falling. The 8th 



1. For the locations of these cities and geographical 
features see especially Maps 1 and 2, which also give the 
locations of every German division in the campaign at 2000 on the 
day noted. 



122 



Panzer Division stood roughly halfway between the headquarters of 
the Soviet 11th Army under Lt. Gen. V. I. Morozov at Kovno 
(Kaunas) and the headquarters of the Soviet 8th Army farther 
west at Schaulen (Siauliai) under Maj.. Gen. P. P. Sobennikov. 
The German division stood on the main (but unpaved) highway 
connecting Kovno with the Baltic Sea at Memel (Klaipeda) but just 
missed cutting the lesser road, telephone lines and exchanges, 
and railroad which connected the Soviet 11th Army in Kovno with 
the 8th Army in Schaulen. The German 8th Panzer Division 
remained curiously "hidden" at Ariogala from the higher Soviet 
command in the Baltic Military District. Although it had seized 
the important bridge over the Dubissa River, it had not yet 
advertised its startlingly deep objective hundreds of kilometers 
further to the rear by cutting through the Soviet communication 
system connecting the 8th and 11th Soviet Armies. 

The Germans 16th Army, in the meantime, bore down on Kovno 
and the Headquarters of the Soviet 11th Army and gripped its 
attention to the south of Ariogala. On the same day, the German 
4th Panzer Group thrust with its main weight at Rossenie adding 
to the concern of Lt. Gen. Morosov and turning the attention of 
the Headquarters of the Baltic Military District under Col. Gen. 
F. I. Kuznetsov to the west of Ariogala. Faced with multiple 
attacks, uncertain of the strenqth and potential danger of each, 
an overloaded Soviet command simply reacted to the German 
initiative. It is perhaps an important lesson in the overloading 
of an enemy command defending against a Blitzkrieg, that the 
Soviets missed the most important initiative of the Germans in 
the north - the drive of the LVI Panzer Corps through Ariogala 

123 



on its way to seize a bridgehead over the Western Dvina River 300 
kilometers away at Dunaburg (Dvina) (See Maps 1, 2, and 3). 

The German field armies advanced impressively on the first 
day of Barbarossa. In the Soviet Western Military District, 
German Army Group Center rapidly began to break up Soviet C^ 
especially through the physical dimension of its two major 
breakthroughs at Kobryn in the south and Merkine in the north, 
and the casualties and damage, e.g., tank losses, inflicted on 
the defending Soviet divisions. In the Soviet Baltic Military 
district, German Army Group North achieved a major breakthrough 
at Ariogala, although the Soviets maintained their strategical 
cohesion reasonably well and and the Soviet command gathered 
forces somewhat precipitously for a major counterattack at 
Rossenie. In the Kiev Military District, German Army Group 
South, faced with proportionally the strongest resistance, 
developed the potential for a major breakthrough in the area of 
attack of the 11th Panzer Division. In a seldom made contrast of 
results achieved on the first day of Barbarossa, the German field 
armies inflicted far less damage and disruption on the opposing 
Soviet ground forces than the Luftwaffe achieved against the Red 
Air Force. The German field armies developed on the first day of 
the war and during the next several days a potential for severe 
defeat of the defending Soviet ground forces but the traps were 
not closed nor the disruption irreversible until several days 
into the campaign. In stunning contrast, within approximately one 
hour and fifteen minutes of the time that artillery opened fire 
at 0305 in the north, the Luftwaffe had achieved a shattering 
blow which (1) caused the destruction of approximately 1,000 

124 




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BARBAROUS A STUDY SITUATION HASJ\ 
27 June 1941 
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Soviet aircraft and their associated support facilities, and (2) 
gained an offensive strategic edge for the Luftwaffe, which kept 
the Red Air Force of balance and resulted in the destruction of 
5,000 Soviet aircraft by the end of the first week of the 
campaign. 

When midnight struck on 22 June 1941, the situation on the 
Eastern Front could be compared with the preceding two 
Blitzkriegs in Poland (1939) and France (1940) at the same early 
stage of development. The defenders, in the present case the 
Soviets, found themselves under attack in a war and rapidly 
recovering from the local, tactical effects of surprise. With 
the exception of the two Soviet army commanders physically 
displaced out of their headquarters at Grodno and Kobryn, the 
other army commanders had probably recovered their composure and 
were feeling confident that with the immense, largely intact 
forces at their disposal they could put up an effective defense, 
and, in some reasonable period of time, regain the initiative. 
Based largely on the noteworthy fact that the Germans succeeded 
in losing the Second World War in Europe, authors, analysts, and 
commentators have spilled much ink describing how the Germans 
underestimated the Soviet armaments effort, the individual 
Russian soldier, Russian space, and the cohesion of the communist 
politial system. Few observers have commented on the gross 
Soviet underestimation of German command flexibility, operational 
mobility, and firepower, at the beginning of the Russo-German 
Campaign. The Soviet strategy on the frontier turned out to be 
to resist stubbornly as far west as possible, to give up a 
minimum of Soviet and/or former Lithuanian, Polish, Rumanian 

127 



territory, and to shift to the offensive as quickly as possible. 
Such a strategy was hopelessly divorced from reality and 
represented a monumental underestimation of the Germans. 

On a bitterly cold afternoon in a small but comfortable home 
in the outskirts of Celle on the North German Plain, Maj. Gen. 
von der Groeben, former assistant operations officer of Army 
Group Center, stated still increduously that "we were astonished 
in the war that the Russians fought on the frontier." He went 
on to elaborate that the commander and staff of Army Group 
Center, did not believe that the Russians would accept battle on 
the border and that the most difficult problem for the army 
group to master would be to move fast enough to encircle the 
Soviet armies in White Russia before they could retire east of 
the Dnieper River. Groeben's comments tend to put the thematic 
quotations at the beginning of this chapter in clearer 
perspective. The Germans hammered into officers and soldiers 
alike the need for tireless and swift forward movement fearful 
that the Russians would slip out of the planned encirclement. It 
is ironic that the Panzer spearheads of German Panzer Groups 1 
and 2 would be pushing eastward "as far as possible without 
regard to danger from the flanks," while the Soviet 3rd, 4th, and 
10th Armies for several unreal days would be stubbornly defending 
as far as possible to the west. 

By Friday, 27 June 1941, the Soviets on the Western Front 
faced a military disaster that even the most pessimistic critics 
of the Red Army would have found difficult to believe a week 



1. Intervie w, Von Der Groeben, Celle, W. Germany, 
24 January 80. 



128 



earlier. The situation on the Northwestern Front was potentially 
more disastrous, and, even in the Ukraine, the Red Army was at 
the beginning of a retreat that would continue for five months 
and more than 1,300 kilometers. 1 Early in the evening of 27 June 
1941, the German 7th Panzer Division, XXXIX Panzer Corps, 3rd 
Panzer Group, cut the great Minsk-Moscow highway 39 kilometers 
east of Minsk at the small communications center of Smolevici.^ 
The 7th Panzer Division, under Maj. Gen. Baron von Funck, had 
made a spectacular dash of more than 320 kilometers to seize 
that small city. In doing so, the division had contributed 
decisively to the potential extinction of the Bialystok pocket by 
making relief from the east virtually impossible and had also 
closed the ring on a second pocket of Soviet divisions forming 
just to the west of Minsk. Inside of Minsk, the situation was 
chaotic and illustrates the complete breakdown of Soviet C^ on 
the Western Front by Friday evening 27 June 1941. At the moment 
that the German tanks, half tracks (Schuetze n panzer ) , and 
trucks severed the direct highway, railroad, and telephone 
communications from Minsk to Moscow, the headquarters of the 
entire Soviet Western Front still lay in Minsk periously exposed 
to being overrun. The German 12th and 20th Panzer Division stood 
only six kilometers away to the northwest from Minsk cutting any 
lingering telephone communications between Gen. G. D. Pavlov and 
his three armies lying to the west. The German 17th Panzer 



1. Distance from the 1939 Reich (Polish) border to Rostov. 

2. See Map 3, which shows the overall strategic situation 
in Barbarossa on 27 June 1941. The map also shows the tactical 
locations of German formations down to division level. 



129 




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Division, XLVII Panzer corps, 2d Panzer Group was approaching 
Minsk from the southwest and would enter the outskirts later in 
the day following a drive which had originated 350 kilometers to 
the west. Gen. Pavlov and his staff were forced to displace 
eastward and lost any final communication with the High Command 
in Moscow and the shattered armies of the Western Front which 
were now being compressed into two pockets farther west. 

In the opening stages of Barbarossa on the Central Front, 
the events of 22-27 June 1941, represent actions, movements, and 
situations similar to those which could be expected in the event 
of a conventional Soviet offensive in Western Europe. History, 
although it repeats itself in terms of generally similar 
situations, never reproduces itself exactly. In the case of at 
least three broad factors encompassing a potential Soviet 
offensive in Western Europe, differences exist between 
Barbarossa and a potential similar future operation. First, a 
Soviet attack would represent the unusual case of a relatively 
less developed state preemptively attacking a more advanced bloc 
of states. Second, a Soviet attack would take place into less 
space in Western Europe than was the case of Russian space in 
Barbarossa. Third, the existing tense relations between the 
Soviet Union and the North Atlantic Alliance reduce the chances 
of surprise being achieved in an attack. On the other hand, the 
Germans achieved an impressive degree of disruption in 
Barbarossa. The disruption was based on identifiable factors and 
principle of operation exploited by the Germans in 1941, but 
capable of being employed by the Soviets today. Some of the 
factors of disruption are quantifiable in terms of the offensive 

134 



movement carried out by the Germans and the trauma inflicted in 
the defending Soviets. Summarized briefly in terms of an 
historical listing, the Germans had accomplished the following 
by midnight of 27 June 1941: 

German Disruption of the Soviet Western Front 

1. Seizure of Minsk by German Panzer formations which had 
moved 320 and 350 kilometers respectively from their initial 
positions 5 days earlier on the frontier of the Reich. 

2. Encirclement of large parts of the Soviet 3rd, 4th, and 
10th Armies including: 13 divisions, four brigades, and the 
headquarters staffs of the 4th and 10th Armies and three corps. 
The pocket formed was 60 kilometers long averaged approximately 
15 kilometers wide, and was centered on Mal-Berestovica well to 
the east of Bialystok. The pocket was encircled almost entirely 
by infantry divisions of the German 4th and 9th (Infantry) 
Armies . 

3. Loose encirclement of a large number of Red Army 
formations which had escaped the Bialystok cauldron. The 
formations included 10 relatively intact Soviet divisions and the 
remnants of two others. Most of these forces would soon be 
hemmed in tightly around the small city of Bakszi (Baksty) 90 
kilometers west of Minsk. 

4. Total disruption of Soviet C^ on the Western Front as 
characterized by the following factors: 

a. "Annihilation" of the headquarters staff of the 
Soviet 3rd Army in Grodno and displacement of the headquarters of 
the 4th Army eastward out of Kobryn on 22 June 1941. 

b. Loose encirclement east of Bialystok as early as 24 
June 1941 of approximately half of the three Soviet armies on the 
Western Front. 

c. Cutting of all telephone communications on 24 June 
1941 between the Bialystok area with its three army headquarters 
and the commander and staff of the Western Front at Minsk. 

d. German domination of the transportation system in 
White Russia through physical seizure of the road and rail system 
in the great offensive drives eastward 1 and through unopposed 
aerial bombardment after 24 June 1941 of the Soviet occupied 
parts of the system. 

5. Inflicting of massive casualties and damage in the 
ensuing reduction of the Bialystok (Mal-Berestovica) and 
Novogrodek (Bakszi) pockets between 28 June-8 July 1941. 



135 



Certain elements in the offensive movement carried out by 
the Germans and the trauma inflicted on the defending Soviets can 
be quantified in a useful way. Most of the same elements would 
be significant in the event of a Soviet conventional offensive 
against Western Europe in a moderately distant future time 
frame. With appropriate restraint and caution, certain of the 
elements common to Barbarossa I (22 June 1941) and potential 
Barbarossa II (future time frame) can be systematically arranged, 
quantified, and noted for consideration as historically based 
projections of conventional combat in Western Europe. On the 
other hand, in contrast, it can be shown that several important 
factors for consideration at present in Europe were essentially 
reversed in Barbarossa, e.g., the Germans with a higher command 
style and technological superiority attacked The Soviets who 
displayed a primitive C 3 style and system and uneven 
technological achievement. The situation in Europe today can 
perhaps be portrayed in the generalization that a major offensive 
at the beginning of a conventional was would be launched by 
Soviet forces with a less sophisticated command style and C 3 
system and less advanced technology than those of the West. In a 



!• Intervie w, Maj. Gen. Pape, Benr ath-Duesseldorf , 11 Jan. 
80. Pape"^ for example, noted that many prisoners taken by 3rd 
Panzer Division, were physically exhausted, ragged, and 
dishelved. The reason: they had been forced consistently to move 
cross country because (1) the Germans had seized the best roads, 
and (2) the Luftwaffe had the Soviet part of the road system 
under surveillance and attack. 

2. See, Heeres Gruppe Mitte, la, Tages meld ungen , 22.6.41- 
15.7.41, Bundesarchiv, Freiburg, RH 1911/128, for Soviet losses. 



136 



more optomistic vein from the viewpoint of the historical 
lessons, however, the following elements potentially common to 
Barbarossa I (1941) and Barbarossa II (future) can be considered 
and quantified: 

Barbarossa Quantif iables (Army) 

I. Measures of Offensive Movement. 

1. Number of kilometers, direction, time. 

2. Terrain seized. 

a. Urban communications plexuses. 

b. Rural avenues of movement. 

II. Measures of Defensive Traumas . 

1. Destruction. 

a. Casualties: KIA, POW. 

b. Damage: Tanks, Cannons, Destroyed/Damaged 

2. Paralysis. 

a. HQs and CPs attacked, overrun, displaced. 

b. Ranks of POWs. 

c. Physical seizure of transport net. 

d. Air surveillance and attack vs transport net. 

The Germans, in effect, accrued enormous advantages when 
they achieved surprise, and, with it, the factor of initiative 
and concentration of effort. The German historical style in war, 
which placed a premium on independence and flexibility in 
command, added the ingredients of the §^h we£p_unkj: and 
A uf tragstak ti k. The results which the advantages of surprise 
gave the Germans can be quantified for the first six days of war 
in the Soviet Union, i.e., B-day +5, in terms of the distances 
advanced. German offensive movement had been formidible, and it 
had taken place within a frame of reference in 1941, which the 
Soviets, for all their emphasis on the mobility of cavalry tanks 
and armored cars, were scarcely able to comprehend. To arrive at 
Minsk on 27 June 1941, Maj. Gen. von Arnim's 17th Panzer Division 
traversed approximately 375 kilometers including several major 

137 



engagements along the way and movement across a thinly developed 
network of unpaved roads, through forests, swamps, and poorly 
tilled farm land. The 17th Panzer Division moved toward Minsk in 
the following increments: 1 

1. 22 Jun 41, 80 km, NE, Seizure Pruzana, 5 Roads, Telex. 

2. 23 Jun 41, 40 km, NE, Near Rozany. 

3. 24 Jun 41, 40 km, NE, Seizure Slonim, 8 Roads, 2 Rails, 
telex. 

4. 25 Jun 41, km, Battle at Slonim. 

5. 26 Jun 41, 110 km, NE, Seizure Stolpce, 5 Roads, 2 
Rails, telex. 

6. 27 Jun 41, 70 km, NE, Enter Minsk, 10 Roads, 4 Rails, 
Tel-relay. 

The 17th Panzer Division followed by several other German 
formations including especially the 29th Motorized Infantry 
Division and the 34th Infantry Divisions, had physically seized 
375 kilometers of White Russian road, rail, and telephone 
systems, thereby denying the Soviet High command in Moscow and 
the battered Headquarters, Western Front, C 3 access by messenger, 
officer courier, telephone, telegraph, and teleprinter, to the 
armies around Bialystok and the divisions around Novogrodek. The 
higher command lost touch with the several hundreds of thousands 
of Red Army troops in combat around Bialystok and Novogrodek and 
was left only the option of building up a new defense line along 
the upper reaches of the Dnieper River. The Red Army command 
within the two large pockets had lost control over events 
entirely; by 29 June 1941, for example, evidence exists which 
shows that the commanders and staffs in the still developing 



1. Roads = number roads radiating out from urban area; 
Rails = number rail lines radiating out; Telex = telephone 
exchange; Tel-relay = telephone relay apparatus. 

138 



eastern pocket were two or t hree day s be hind the actual German 
movements. Soviet prisoners interrogated by German intelligence 
personnel in Panzer Group 2 stated that they had received the 
order on 29 June 1941 in Novogrodek to retreat to Baranovice. If 
they found that city occupied, they were "told to go east to 
Stolpce and Minsk. "1 The almost incredible fact is that the 
Soviet headquarters issuing the orders did not know that the 
Germans had passed through Baranovice three days earlier (at 
about 1430 on 26 June 1941), seized Stolpce near midnight of the 
same day, and entered Minsk on 27 June 1941. 

The increments of distance in which the 17th Panzer Division 
moved daily may partly explain the dislocation of the Soviet 
command. After two days of movement totalling 120 kilometers on 
22, 23 June 1941, the division moved only 40 kilometers on 24 
June and remained stationary in heavy combat around Slonim on the 
following day. Then, suddenly, two days later the Panzer 
division appeared at Minsk 180 kilometers away to the northeast. 
The pattern of movement as well as the long distances may well 
have kept the Soviet command off balance and in the dark about 
the locations of divisions like the 17th Panzer with long range, 
strategic objectives. Such a pattern was characterized by an 
initial substantial rate of movement, followed by an almost 
static period, and finally an enormous acceleration to the 
seizure of strategic terrain. The pattern might be formally 
noted as the "accelerated breakthrough." The Germans did not 



1. See Panzer A. O.K. 2, la, An la gen , Kriegestagebuch Nr . 1^ 
1 . Band , 1. 7.41. , 2 , Abschr i f t Fernsprechbuch , p. 4 , B u ncle s - 
archiv, ~ Freiburg, RH21-2/V.113. 

139 



plan such a pattern but rather rode with the circumstances in the 
opening stages of Barbarossa which called forth the pattern. One 
would suspect that the accelerated breakthrough could be found in 
other Barbarossa-like offensives, and, indeed in France in May 
1940, one can see a similar pattern: (1) initial substantial 
rate of movement lightly opposed throught the Ardennes, (2) heavy 
combat along the Meuse against French forces too strong either to 
ignore or avoid, and (3) an enormous acceleration of movement to 
the seizure of strategic terrain, e.g., in the French case, the 
Channel coast. 

The 17th Panzer Division was not alone in its pattern of 
movement during the opening stages of Barbarossa. Farther south 
the advanced elements of the 3rd Panzer Division along with the 
division commander, Lt. Gen. Walter Model, moved the substantial 
distance of 150 kilometers on 22, 23 June 1941, reaching the 
Schara (Szara) River in a drive designed to get farther east to 
the Dnieper as soon as possible in order to prevent the buildup 
of a new Soviet front. During the next day, 24 June 1941, the 
division established bridgeheads, gathered up its trailing 
elements, and fought off heavy Soviet attacks all within a 
distance of approximately 20 kilometers of the Schara River. 
Halfway throught the next day, 25 June 1941, the 3rd Panzer 
Division moved through the bridgehead and accelerated eastward 
with intermediate target Sluzk (Sluck) and more distant, 
strategic target Bobruisk (Bobriusk) where the Soviets would be 
forced by geographic conditions to attempt to construct a new 
front. At 0450 on 28 June 1941, two and one half days later and 
245 kilometers distant, men of the light 20mm-gun tank platoons 

140 



of the 1st Battalion, 6th Panzer Regiment, 3rd Panzer Division, 
raised the Reich battle flag over the tower of the 3obruisk 
citadel. The 3rd Panzer division stood 440 kilometers by road 
into the Soviet Union. It had achieved that distance in an 
accelerated breakthrough similar to that of the 17th Panzer 
Division but against a different objective farther south. 

In the meantime, farther north, the German 8th Panzer 
Division, LVI Panzer Corps in Army Group North had achieved a 
deep breakthrough which offered the Germans a strategical 
opportunity to collapse the Soviet Baltic front. The 
breakthrough developed in the same accelerated pattern as farther 
south but under different circumstances. Lt. Gen. 

Branden berger * s division moved the substantial distance of 80 
kilometers on 22 June 1941, to take the bridge over the Dubissa 
River at Ariogala. The entire following day, 23 June 1941, the 
8th Panzer Division remained essentially stationary while heavy 
Soviet armored forces comprising approximately 350 tanks 
including a substantial portion of T-3 4 and KV-II (152mm gun) 
models moved across the front of the division heading north and 
northwest to attack the two German Panzer divisions lying to the 
west. On 24 June 1941, the 8th Panzer Division moved 80 
kilometers through Kedainia to Wilkomerz (Ukmerge) rupturing 
direct communications between the Headquarters, Soviet 11 Army in 
Kovno (Kaunas) and Headquarters, Soviet 8th Army in Schaulen 



1. Traditionsverband der Division, Ges ch ich te der 3. 
Panzer-D i v ision, Ber 1 in-B rand en bu r g 1 935 -1945 (Berlin, 1967), 
p.118, and Interv iew , Maj. Gen. Pape, Benrath, W.Germany, Jan 80. 



141 



(Siauliai), and the transportation system between the two armies. 
On the following day, 25 June 1941, the division reached Utena, 
and during the evening sent out two small combat groups to seize 
the road and rail bridges at Dunaburg (Dvinsk) on the Dvina 
River. The groups seized the road bridge intact just after 0630, 
26 June 1941, having moved 200 kilometers in the previous two 
days. An aggressive but overloaded Soviet command in the Baltic 
missed the presence of major elements of a Panzer division at 
Ariogala. The acceleration of the division out of its bridgehead 
to seize the strategic terrain at Dunaburg, however, could 
scarcely have been considered as a reasonable probability even by 
a more alert defender. 

The movement and fire of the German Panzer and motorized 
infantry divisions and the great infantry armies marching behind 
them inflicted massive trauma on the defending Red Army forces. 
The Luftwaffe had also inflicted unparalleled losses on the Red 
Air Force and was able by the third day of the campaign (24 June 
1941) to shift emphasis to close air support of the German field 
armies and interdiction of the Soviet lines of communication. 
The Luftwaffe had achieved air supremacy, and its nimble medium 
bombers and extraordinarily accurate dive bombers had virtually 
free rein over the Soviet divisions for the year 1941. Although 
the 1,300 medium and dive bombers represented small numbers for 
an area as large as the eastern Front, the Luftwaffe was able to 
keep an effective percentage in operation and concentrate them in 
support of the known offensive Schwerpunkten . The German Army, 
in addition placed an emphasis on aerial reconnaissance, 
observation, and liaison unmatched by any other army in the world 

142 



at that time. The Germans, in addition to the total of 
approximately 1800 bomber, dive, attack, destroyer, and fighter, 
aircraft in the East on 22 June 1941, had a total of 
approximately 470 reconnaissance, observation, and liaison 
aircraft. With air supremacy, the Germans were able to employ 
their aircraft effectively to avoid tactical surprise and seize 
special tactical opportunities. The buildup of Soviet 
antiaircraft gun defense systems later in the campaign began to 
reduce the effectiveness of such aircraft which had been 
conceived by the Germans as necessary for great mobile compaigns 
similar to those in Poland, France, the Balkans, and the opening 
stages of Barbarossa. 

The insertion of the Luftwaffe by the third day of the 
ground war as a great mobile bombardment force in support of the 
field armies deserves special emphasis. The collaspse of the 
Luftwaffe by 1944 in the West, and the overwhelming of the 
Luftwaffe in the East by about the same time, have had a tendency 
to reduce some of the luster of its earlier performances. The 
two-engined medium bomber and the dive bombers were designed 
specifically for tactical support of the Army and comprise a 
factor which significantly increased the mobility and firepower 
of the field armies. The defensive trauma levied against the Red 
Army by the Luftwaffe is difficult to ignore and included (1) 
casualties and damage to the field armies inflicted by ground 
attack, and (2) paralysis of movement caused by the destruction 
of transportation facilities and the threat and execution of 
ground attack through the presence of German aerial 
reconnaissance aircraft and tactical bombers. Soviet Maj. Gen. 

143 



Jegorov who commanded the Soviet 4th Rifle Corps was captured in 
the Bialystok pocket just north of the small city of Dertschin 
(Derecin) on 1 July 1941 and stated that "on the very first day 
of the campaign, the units of the corps were bombarded by the 
Luftwaffe (near Grodno) and began to disintegrate." As a reason 
for the further "panic and disintegration" in his division, 
Jegorov gave "1. the immense effectiveness of the German 
Luftwaffe, 2. the lack of any communications, 3. the (physical) 
encirclement and the flanking fires by German artillery and 
machine guns." 

The Luftwaffe intervened strongly in the ground combat in 
Barbarossa and suprisingly early in the operation. The 
historical lesson or warning would seem to be the following: 
although some of the geographical circumstances are different and 
certain technological factors have changed, e.g., a denser 
transportation network in Western Europe and radar controlled air 
defense systems, several general principles are still operating 
which give an attacker generic advantages over a defender. I_f 
the Soviets, for example, elect to seize the offensive and i_f 
they achieve some degre e of_ surprise , the probability is great 
that the NATO air forces will take heavy losses with initial 
adverse exchange ratios based on having aircraft caught on the 
ground and being forced to react to an enemy operating within a 
plan and with his effort concentrated at crucial points in the 
battle. One can expect also that the air defense system will 
take initial, heavy losses. The end result for NATO is a 
situation similar to that in the opening stages of the Russo- 
German Campaign in which the Luftwaffe achieved the following: 

144 



1 . Trauma Inflicted on Defending Air force and Air 
Derence System : Luftwatte destroys 3,000 Soviet 
aircraft in first 42 hours of combat. Exchange Ratio 
approximately 90 Soviet aircraft for 1 German aircraft 
lost through combat. 

2. Trauma Inflicted on Defending Ground Armies ; 

a. Destruction : Luftwaffe inflicts casualties and 
damage to troops, tanks, trucks, artillery positions 

b. Paralysis : Luftwaffe attacks bridges, other 
transportation facilities, telephone exchanges, 
radio stations, truck and march columns, trains, 
headquarters and command posts. Luftwaffe estab- 
lishes restrictive aerial surveillance over Soviet 
ground armies. 

The Luftwaffe in close cooperation with Army Group Center 

supported the great encirclements planned by it for at Minsk and 

later at Smolensk by selectively destroying bridges in White 

Russa. The Luftwaffe, with extreme care, avoided damaging 

bridges necessary for the advance of Panzer Groups 2 and 3 

through Brest and Vilna. In contrast, the Luftwaffe 

systematically and decisively destroyed bridges within the great 

encircling arms of the Panzer groups, across which the Soviet 

3rd, 4th, and 10th Armies would attempt to withdraw or ultimately 

flee eastward. •*■ The historical lesson and warning for NATO, in 

terms of the general factors which operated during Barbarossa, is 

the reasonable probability that an attacking Soviet Air Force 

with the initial advantages of surprise, initiative, and 



1. Interview , Colonel Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Chicago, Illinois, 
December 1979. Col. Rudel, the premier combat aviator in the 
history of military aviation, emphasized the importance that the 
Germans placed on knocking out Soviet bridges in the early stages 
of Barbarossa. He noted that the Knights Cross which he received 
in September 1941, was issued for his decisive attacks against 
bridges earlier in the campaign with Army Group Center as well as 
his well known destruction/sinking of the Soviet battleship, 
Marat. 



145 



concentration of effort could achieve a significant disruption of 
NATO ground movement and C 3 through both ordnance attacks and 
counter electronics "strikes" against transport and command 
facilities. The unusual twist, which emerges from Barbarossa, is 
that the Soviet Air Force might attack a large number of bridges 
to block NATO forces from moving across the Rhine and other 
rivers . 

In Barbarossa, the fire and movement of the German Panzer, 
motorized infantry, and infantry division inflicted severe 
casualties and material losses on the defending Soviet armies. 
The severity of the Soviet losses is worth examining in detail, 
because it was associated with general principles and factors 
which operated in Barbarossa and could be assumed to be present 
in similar, grand offensives in the future. The Germans 
inflicted casualties', whose absolute values were great by any 
standards, and exchange ratios, which were even more extreme. 
The reasons for such casualty exchanges in Barbarossa also can be 
found to some degree in the unique historical relationship 
between the German and Red Armies in 1941. This unique 
relatinship, which existed at a single, brief interval of time, 
can be characterized as that of a well trained, combat 
experienced, high technology, confident German Army in combat 
against a less effectively trained, Soviet peacetime army, with 
lower technological standards, and a slight but pervasive sense 
of inferiority. The unique German advantages of 1941 were 
accentuated by the general factors or principles of military 
operation which the Germans determined to seize by launching a 
surprise attack against the Soviets. The results of the initial 

146 



weeks of combat illustrate an extraordinary inbalance in 

casualties in Barbarossa which i_f even remotely approached in a 

Soviet offensive against the West would be disruptive and 

possibly fatal. The overall results can be summarized as 

follows: 

Barbarossa Casualties 

(Soviet Western Front) 

Soviet Casualties Ger man Casualties 

22 June - 8 July 41 (Bialystock-Minsk) 22 June - 8 July 41 

1. KIA - 100,000 1. KIA - 4,842 

2. POW - 310,000 2. POW - Virtually none 

9 July - 27 July 41 (Smolensk) 9 July - 27 July 41 

1. KIA - 90,000 1. KIA - 5,400 

2. POW - 310,000 2. POW - Virtually none 

The casualty figures show that the Germans, who were on the 
offensive and experienced the tactical hazards associated with 
being a relatively exposed attacker, suffered relatively light 
casualties, i.e., approximately 4,842 KIA in Army Group Center, 
while inflicting approximately 100,000 KIA on the defending 
Soviets. The exchange ratio is a staggering 21:1 in favor of the 
Germans and of record proportion for modern combat on a large 
scale. Perhaps of even more significance is the total of 323,898 
POWs, most of whom were taken in the period of the setting of the 
first encirclement around Bialystock on 25 June 1941 through the 
collapse of the second cauldron west of Minsk on about 3 July 
1941. The historical case is of particular significance because 
the use of statistical models of combat as, for example, the well 
known Lanchester Equations, which give expected values of 



1. See, HeeresGruppe Mitte, la, Tagesmeld ungen, 2 2.6.4 1- 
15.7.41 , Bundesarchiv, Freiburg. RH 19Il7l28, p. 210 of file for 
Soviet casualties for the "double battle of Bialystok and Minsk." 

147 




Illustration 19 . GERMAN FIREPOWER: The German infantry squad was built 

around the fire developed by the MG-34 (later MG-42) shown 
above in the midst of an infantry squad at Kalefnik, East 
Prussia, on 10 June 1941, during the concentration for 
Barbarossa. 



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150 




Illustration 22- 



General (German Generaloberst ) Hermann Hoth at right 
in a rare photo with Heinz Guderian. These two 
German leaders headed the Panzer forces of Army Group 
Center and pulled along the conservative infantry army 
commanders in the center and the imaginative, but 
erratic and nervous military dilettante, Adolf Hitler, 
to Smolensk and a hairsbreadth away from final victory 
within 24 days of the opening of Barbarossa. 

151 




Illustration 23. 



Shown here as Lieutenant General (German 
General der Infanterie ) and Commander, 
56th Panzer Corps, in Lithuania in 1941, 
Erich von Manstein has the historical 
reputation of possessing the finest opera- 
tional mind in the Second World War. 



152 



casualties based largely on the number of attackers and 
defenders, are ineffective for the opening stages of Barbarossa 
and similar surprise attacks. The German field armies in Army 
Group Center had only a modest initial advantage in numbers for 
an attacking force, and equations based on principles similar to 
those of the Lanchester Equations could not be expected to give 
21:1 values especially 21 defenders versus 1 attacker. Although 
prisoners are lost as completely as KlAs to a combat force, the 
Lanchester Equations do not take account of such casualties. Yet 
the historically verifiable figure of approximately 324,000 Red 
Army personnel fell into the hands of the Germans in the double 
battle of Bialystok and Minsk, and one must suspect that 
significant numbers of NATO troops would be captured by the 
Soviets in a similar major surprise attack. 

The Germans certainly disrupted the Soviet armies opposite 
Army Group Center with approximately 424,000 casualties in killed 
and captured during the first two and one half weeks of the 
campaign. The Soviets were battered almost as severely during 
the next three weeks, and by 27 July 1941, they had suffered 
approximately 400,000 additional casuatlties in combat with Army 
Group Center for a grand total of well over 800,000 killed and 
captured in five weeks of combat. The Soviets stubbornly 
contested the German advance from the outset of the campaign and 
it is inaccurate to say that they traded space for time. The 
stubborn defense as far west as possible resulted in the immense 
casualties noted above and it is more accurate to say that the 
Soviets with characteristic pragmatism acknowledged the 
superior mobility of the German armies and were willing to take 

153 



the casualties to slow them down and keep them from penetrating 
to the strategic terrain around Moscow. In an alternate analysis 
it could be reasoned that the Soviets sensed there was not enough 
space in the Soviet Union to prevent Army Group Center from 
seizing Moscow without fighting against it along every inch of 
the way, i.e., they were forced to trade casualties and space for 
time. In an analogous situation today, the West finds itself as 
a voluntary defender with little space and little apparent 
willingness to accept casualties on the scale of the Soviet model 
for survival in Barbarossa. It is doubtful, of course, that the 
Western political or military leaders expect to experience 
exchange ratios of 21 defenders to 1 attacker killed in action 
and eq ual ly doubtful that they consider, as realistic exchange 
ratios of 88 defenders to 1 attacker in killed and captured. ^ 

The following factors tend to explain the disparity in 
casualties: (1) strategically the Germans achieved surprise and 
concentrated their effort in various Schwerpunkten of their own 
choosing, and (2) tactically the Germans with their 
A uftragstakti k, superior training, greater combat experience, 
unique machine gun tactics, flexible artillery techniques, and 
proven combined arms Panzer divisions, dominated the Soviets in 
combat. Soviet Major General Jegorov noted the contribution of 
the flanking fires of German artillery and machine guns to the 
panic and disintegration in the corps which he commanded, and one 
can sense in his words, the tactical expertise, economy of 






1. Based on 424,000 Soviet KIA and POW from 22 June-8 July 
41, and 4,842 Germans KIA and POW during the same period. 



154 



effort, and flexibility with which the Germans operated at 
Bialystok, Minsk, and Smolensk. Retired Major General Pape, who 
commanded the 1st Battalion, Schuetzen (Mechanized Infantry) 
Regiment 394, 3rd Panzer Division, from 27 June 1941, at 
Bobruisk, commented that his men had been trained and drilled to 
respond immediately to heavy resistance and noted that 
significant fire from a village against a column of troops could 
result in an attack begun simply with the leader's command: 
"combat in village". 

The factors noted, however, do not fully explain the German 
domination of opponents as tough and numerous as the Russian 
riflemen and as dangerous as the vast Soviet tank formations. 
The Germans after all had only a moderate numerical superiority 
in troops 1 at the beginning of the campaign, which in spite of 
the immense casualties which they inflicted on the Soviets, was 
compensated for by ruthless, brutal, methodical, and efficient 
Soviet recruiting and willingness to accept casualties among the 
untrained levies. As attackers, however, the Germans were able 
to concentrate their effort at critical points of their own 
choosing, and in some cases were able to achieve lo c al heavy 
numerical superiorities. On the other hand, even under such 
circumstances, the Germans as attackers were forced to expose 
themselves more in combat with a logical necessity to take 
comparatively heavy casualties in the movement toward the 



1. The Germans were heavily outnumbered by the Soviet tanks 
and even the numerous Soviet T-26 and BT-5 type vehicles were 
equivalent in gun amour piercing capabilities with their 45mm 
antitank canon. 



155 



defender. It is particularly significant to note in the great 
encirclements near Minsk, Bialystok, and Smolensk that the 
Germans found themselves for days on end as d ef ender s againsti 

powerful Red Army forces massed to break out of the cauldrons.) 

i 
Under those circumstances, the Germans, although stra tegically or 

i 

the offensive, were tactically on the defensive over large areas, 
for long periods of time. On 27 June 1941, the day that Panzer] 
Group 2 completed the Minsk encirclement, 15 German infantry andj 
one motorized infantry division stood in a tight encirclement of 
13 Soviet divisions and four tank brigades to the north and east 
of Bialystok. The German 29th Motorized Infantry Division under 
Maj. Gen. von Boltenstern, held the line of encirclement to the 
east, i.e., in the area in which the Soviets were trying to break 
out, and stood largely on the defensive between 26-30 -June 1941 
During that time, the Division, intact, confident, and in secure 
blocking position inflicted fearful damage on the disintegrating 
Soviet attackers with its artillery and machine guns. The 71st 
Motorized Infantry Regiment of the division took the 
extraordinary total of 30,000 Soviet prisoners in that five days 
of combat in return for moderate losses of its own. 

Army Group Center continued its advance beyond Minsk in e 
pattern similar to the one which had led to the formation of the 
two great pockets of Soviet troops now lying to the west of the 
advanced elements of Panzer Groups 2 and 3. The leaders of the 
two Panzer Groups, Generals Guderian and Hoth, agreed that th< 
mobile division should immediately press on to prevent the 

1. See Map 3. 

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*M*V# 



Illustration 30. 



DEFENSIVE TRAUMA: The Germans captured huge numbers of 
Red Army prisoners in the period June - October 1941. 
Shown above is a Soviet prisoner, possibly an officer, 
emerging from a formal concrete fortification. Unlike the 
general situation in Barbarossa which approached numerical 
parity, the Russian here is heavily outnumbered. 



162 



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164 




Illustration 33. 



DEFENSIVE TRAUMA: The Germans in Army Group Center 
destroyed or captured approximately 6,5000 Soviet tanks 
in the period 22 June - 27 July 1941. Shown above is a 
BT-7 fast cavalry tank, a 15- ton vehicle with 45mm cannon, 



165 




166 






Soviets from building up a new front along the line of the 
Dnieper and the terrain just to the north of Orsa around Vitebsk 
(see Maps 1-6, especially 3). The leader of Army Group Center, 
the redoubtable Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, was convinced that 
a swift move past the Dnieper was crucial for seizing the terrain 
around Smolensk on schedule but was also bound by directions from 
OKH to secure the Bialystok pocket. The officers, who commanded 
the German 4th and 9th Armies on 27 June 1941, were also 
concerned about the violence of Soviet attempts to break out of 
Bialystok pocket and the problems of setting the additional lines 
of encirclement around the new pocket north of Novogrodek. Field 
Marshal von Kluge and General Strauss felt that the Dnieper 
crossing should be delayed until their foot marching infantry 
division could catch up and assist in the drive to Smolensk. 

in the time period 28 June - 2 July 1941, Guderian and Hoth 
worked hard to assist the infantry armies in maintaining the 
lines of encirclement of the Novogrodek cauldron while 
simultaneously pushing forward all of the mobile divisions 
possible into bridgeheads across the Beresina River in the south 
and up against the Western Dvina in the north. On 3 July 1941, 
the remnants of the Soviet armies trapped in the Bialystok 
cauldron surrendered and thus freed approximately 16 German 
infantry divisions, which had been pressing in on the lines of 
encirclement, to move eastward. At this juncture in the 
campaign, Guderian estimated that it would take the infantry 
divisions two weeks to arrive at the Dnieper and more time to 
participate in an attack. Panzer Group 2 went on to expand 
aggressively the German bridgeheads over the Beresina and reach 



167 



the Dnieper in the time period 3-7 July 1941, and noted an 
ominous buildup of Soviet forces which had developed out of the 
Soviet mobilization and was characterized by ultra aggressive 
attacks by poorly led Soviet forces. On 7 July 1941, Guderian 
made the highly independent decision to cross the Dnieper using 
only Panzer and motorized infantry divisions of the Panzer Group 
and press on to seize the strategic terrain around Smolensk and 
Yelnia. The decision was bold and correct, and showed the 
Auf tragstaktik operating efficiently within the general framework 
of the mission to seize the strategic land bridge around 
Smolensk. Over the objections of his immediate superior, Field 
Marshal Guenther von Kluge, commander of the recently formed (3 
July 1941) 4th Panzer Army, he ordered the attack for 10-11 July 
1941. In his memoirs, Guderian notes he was convinced that the 
attack would succeed and the operation would decide the Russian 
campaign in the year 1941. 

Such an interpretation of circumstances was largely correct. 
Hoth and Guderian working in concert had attacked soon enough 
after the rapid drive to Minsk to keep the Soviets off balance 
and maintain the tactical situation fluid in the sector of Army 
Group Center. Although 13 days had passed since the German 
mobile divisions had swirled around and into Minsk, the Soviets 
had not been able to put together a coherent defensive front. On 
10-11 July 1941, Guderian's Panzer forces successfully crossed 
the Dnieper against the fierce but poorly coordinated Soviet 
counterattacks and the threat of a counterof f ens ive by strong 



1. General Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader (New York, 1956), 
p. 169. 

168 



forces moving in from the south and east. In the meantime, 
Panzer Group 3 under Hoth, had taken Vitebsk and began its drive 
toward Smolensk approaching that communications center from the 
northwest. Both commanders hoped to breakthrough and accelerate 
forward to Smolensk while simultaneously encircling major Soviet 
forces and disintegrating the Soviet front on the upper reaches 
of the Dnieper. 

Similarly to the pattern of movement through Soviet 
resistance earlier in the campaign around Slonim, the German 
divisions made enormous gains across and along the Dneiper. The 
German 29th Motorized Infantry Division successfully crossed the 
Dnieper at Kopys early Friday morning and advanced against the 
Soviet 18th and 54th Rifle Divisions. After heavy fighting in 
the bridgehead area on Friday and Saturday, 11-12 July 1941, the 
29th Motorized Infantry Division drove 100 kilometers on 13 July 
through the Soviet defenses to reach a point 18 kilometers 
southwest of Smolensk. The dramatic advance of the division 
fractured the Soviet front cutting off the powerful Soviet forces 
at Orscha (Orsa) from the strong forces being pushed back from 
the Dnieper farther south. As the 7th Panzer Division under 
Brig. Gen. von Funck and the 20th Panzer Division under Brig. 
Gen. Stumpf had broken through north of Smolensk at the same 
time, the Soviets saw themselves face-to-face with yet another 
cauldron forming this time between Orscha and Smolensk. 

The same German troops in Panzer Groups 2 and 3, who had 
successfully encircled the Soviets at Bialystok and Novogrodek 
were accomplishing a similar task 380-500 kilometers further to 
the east at Smolensk. 1 The effects of the original German 



169 



strategic and tactical surprise of 22 June 1941 lingered on in 
the form of Luftwaffe air supremacy, heavy Soviet casualties, and 
the inability of the Soviet command to slow the German advance to 
a manageable pace. In spite of the difficulties of advancing 
against an enemy with approximate numerical parity behind a major 
river barrier, the qualitatively superior Germans continued to 
hold on to the initiative and concentrate their efforts into 
advances which surprised, fragmented, and overwhelmed the 
Soviets . 

By 16 July 1941, the 29th Motorized Infantry Division had 
seized control of Smolensk and the 7th and 20th Panzer Divisions 
lay astride the Minsk-Moscow completing a loose encirclement of 
major Soviet forces lying west and northwest of Smolensk. The 
German mobile divisions by their physical presence forced the 
Soviet Headquarters, Western Front, to displace more than 180 
kilometers to the east to Juchnov, which lay in turn only 180 
kilometers from Moscow. Soviet telephone communications and 
ground transportation to the Red Army forces encircled east of 
Mogilev and hemmed in further north at Lubavici Demidov were cut 
by the Germans. The Soviet 13th, 19th, and 20th Army 
Headquarters managed to slip away to the east but lost control 
over the approximately 17 Soviet divisions encircled or hemmed in 
by the Germans, The deep penetration of the 7th and 20th Panzer 
Divisions north of Smolensk, the movement of the 29th Motorized 
Infantry Division into Smolensk, and the drive of the 10th Panzer 



1. The distances are from the centers of the pockets when 
they were first formed on 25 and 27 June 1941, i.e., 500km from 
the area northwest of Volkovysk, and 380 km from Juratiski north 
of Novogrodek (see Map 4). 



170 



Division of Maj. Gen. Schaal through Potschinok (Pocinok) to 
Jelnja (Yelnya) on 20 July 1941, had completely shattered Soviet 
communications and road and rail transportation across the front 
of German Army Group Center. 

The Germans intended to trap and destroy as much as possible 
of the defending Red Army formations and the results by the end 
of July had been catastrophic for the Soviets. The 7th and 12th 
Panzer Divisions of Panzer Group 3, attacking near Vitebsk on 11 
July 1941 at the beginning of battle for Smolensk, destroyed 101 
Soviet tanks in tank versus tank combat, approximately half of 
which were T-34 or KV models.-'- In contrast, but with the same 
impressive results, the anti-tank gunners of the 529th Antitank 
Battalion destroyed 51 Soviet tanks on the same day. 2 Farther 
south, in Panzer Group 2, the 17th Panzer Division "annihilated 
in heavy fighting over 250 enemy tanks" and inflicted heavy 
casualties on the accompanying Soviet motorized infantry forces 
in engagements in the same area near Sjenno (Senno) between 7-10 
July 1941.3 The 18th Panzer Division, advancing immediately to 
the south, knocked out 40 Soviet tanks on 7 July 1941. In the 
brief period 7-11 July 1941, those four Panzer divisions, 
destroyed more than 391 Soviet tanks while moving across the 
Vitebsk land bridge and concentrating for the drive to Smolensk. 

The heavy fighting by the German armor, which had the 



1. Heeres Gruppe Mitte, la. Tagesmeldungen , 2 2.6.4 1- 
1 5.7.4 1, A .0 .K . 4 Tagesmeldung , Bundesarchiv, Freiburg, RK 
1911/128, p. 218 of file. 

2. Ibid . , p. 223 of file, paragraph 8. 

3. Panzer A. O.K. 2, An lagen , Kr iegs tage buch, 1 3.7.4 1, 
Bundesarchiv, Freiburg, RH 21-2/v. 122, p. 107 of file. 



171 



initiative and was concentrating for the planned attack into the 
Smolensk area, confused the Soviet command probably at the Front 
and army levels. German reconnaissance aircraft supportinq 
Panzer Group 3 reported a heavy column of Soviet troops "on the 
march south" toward Gorodek on 10 July 1941 possibly moving to 
support the Soviets in the great tank battles around Senno. 
German aerial observation reported in the afternoon, however, 
that same column "is on its way back via Newel (Nevel) in the 
direction of northeast." The first general staff officer for 
intelligence (Ic) of the German LVI Panzer Corps, commented on 
the Soviet activity with the words: "the aimlessness of the 
movement leads to the conclusion that the Russian leadership is 
already confused." The followinq day, 11 July 1941, the German 
29th Motorized Infantry crossed the Dnieper at Kopyss (Kopys) 
with specific objectives to capture a bridgehead and as swiftly 
as possible drive to Smolensk. The 15th Motorized Infantry 
Regiment of the division seized a Soviet airfield just north of 
Sobowa and captured 20 operational fighters in the process of 
enlarging the bridgehead. While standing on the newly captured 
field, German troops observed a Soviet aircraft approach the 
field and land. The Germans grounded the taxiing aircraft with 
gunfire and proceeded to capture two staff officers from the 
Headquarters of the Soviet 20th Army. The staff officers were 
out of touch with the actual progress of events on the ground tc 
the extent that they had flown complete with "valuable maps" into 
the arms of the German riflemen. 

In the fighting, which led to the capture of Smolensk and 
the formation of several cauldrons to the west of the city, the 



172 






Germans took prisoners in a well defined pattern. In the mobile 
stages of the drive, especially from 10-17 July 1941, the German 
Panzer and motorized infantry divisions took moderate numbers of 
Soviet prisoners while effecting the hemming in of the less 

mobile Soviet forces. As the lines of encirclement were set and 
the German infantry divisions arrived to assist the mobile 
divisions, the Soviets took severe casualties in their attempts 
(1) to break out of the pockets, and (2) to stabilize a new front 
with fresh but poorly armed and led draftees and battered 
veterans. The pattern is illustrated by the following data for 
the German 12th Panzer Division which took approximately 50 
prisoners each day on 11, 12 July 1941 as it attacked toward 
Smolensk and 5,000 on 20 July 1941, while holding the lines of 
encirclement around several Soviet divisions directly to the west 
of Smolensk. 

The German officers interviewed noted attacks in the 
Bialystok, Minsk, and Smolensk pockets which indicated a severe 
degradation of Soviet C 3 . Such attacks were not coordinated with 
the other movements and were unsupported by artillery. Witnesses 
interviewed and those reporting in documents noted as many as ten 
waves of infantry attacking at ineffectively chosen sectors and 
with no variation in the point of attack. Witnesses observed the 
Russians attacking actually with arms linked together, without 
prior reconnaissance, the troops often inebriated, and shouting 
the cry, "urrah," incidentally, to the detriment of tactical 
surprise in the night attacks. The Germans also observed that 
many troops in the following waves in multiwave attacks were 
unarmed. One German officer noted on moving through an area near 

173 



Smolensk in which his unit had been receiving substantial 
resistance, Soviet troops on hands and knees drinking vodka out 
of the ditches on either side of a road near which a large 
storage container had burst and poured out the colorless liquid. 

The reasons for the Soviet casualties were many and varied, 
but whatever they were, the Soviets suffered extreme losses 
especially in attempting to break out of the German 
encirclements. The situation in Central Europe today, however, 
is substantially different in some respects. The West will not 
be surprised in the grand sense of being attacked by a 
diplomatic partner in a nonaggress ion pact. The West also has 
well developed plans for defense including withdrawals for 
considerable distance. In contrast, however, the defending NATO 
forces will probably not have a copy of the potential Soviet 
plan of attack and must accept all the deficiencies associated 
with being surprised at the time and the main points of effort 
of a Soviet offensive within the theater of operations. The 
tactical situation is different in Central Europe also. In a 
potential future Barbarossa II, unlike the case in June 1941, in 
which a superior German Army attacked a less adept enemy, the 
Soviets will be attempting to move against coalition divisions 
with moderate technological superiority, probably moderate 
superiority in historical command style, and a superiority in C^ 
hardware. The historical lesson and warning of Barbarossa is 
that the enormous advantages associated with surprise, 
initiative, and concentration of effort may allow a determined 
attacker to overload the opposing enemy commands and accelerate 
through defenses to a degree that no recovery of the defense may 

174 



be possible in the limited space of West Germany. A unique 
twist which stands out from Barbarossa also is the significant 
probability that some NATO forces will be encircled and be 
forced to attack equivalent size Soviet formations under 
disadvantageous conditions of engagement associated with the 
breakout situation, e.g., obvious points and times of attack and 
assault against large, prepared enemy formations. 

The Germans, in addition to inflicting severe casualties on 
the Soviets, destroyed or captured large quantities of materiel. 
The most important Soviet war materiel would probably include 
tanks, rifles, machine guns, artillery, and antitank and 
antiaircraft cannons. Of these weapons, the Germans felt that 
tanks and cannons were particularly important weapons and 
demanded that subordinate formations report the numbers of such 
equipment destroyed or captured. The Germans were critical in 
their acceptance of claims and sensitive about the possibilities 
of double counts by different units. The following listing shows 
the damage inflicted by Army Group Center on the defending 
Russians in terms of materiel losses: 



Barbarossa Materiel Losses 

(Soviet Western Front) 

9 3 

Soviet L osses German Losses 

2_2 J une - 8 July 41 (Bialystok-M insk) 22_ June - 8 July 41 

1. Tanks — 3,332 1. Tanks — 195 

2. Cannons — 1,809 2. Cannons — - 90 

2. July " 2_7 Julv 41 (Smolensk) 9 July - 27 July 41 

1. Tanks — *~ 3,20 5 1. Tanks — 218 

2. Cannons -- 3,120 2. Cannons — 115 



1. See H.G.M., la. T. M. , 2 2.6 - 1 5.7.4 1 , Freiburg, RH 

175 



Army Group Center inflicted astounding tank losses on the 
Soviets who had massed a huge quantity of armor in the Western 
Military District prior to the German attack. Unlike the 
situation relative to casualties, in which the army group 
attacked with a slight numerical superiority, the German tank 
force in the center moved forward with approximately 1,650 tanks 
against approximately 8,000 Soviet tanks deployed with the forces 
in the Western Military District on 22 June 1941, or immediately 
available for use by newly mobilized formations. Based on the 
numbers of Soviet tanks destroyed or captured by 8 July 1941, one 
can estimate that approximately 4,000 Soviet tanks were deployed 
with the Soviet 3rd, 4th, and 10th Armies, and arrive at a 
conclusion that the tank force with Army Group Center was heavily 
outnumbered by Soviet tanks. The Germans were able to compen- 
sate for the striking inferiority in numbers by taking advantage 
of the initial surprise and exploiting the factors of initiative 
and concentration of effort into reasonable force ratios in tank- 
versus-tank engagements. 



(continued from previous page) 1911/128, p. 119, for Soviet 
losses at Bialystock-Minsk. See, Panzer A.O.K.2, Kreig stagebuch 
Nr. 1, 22.6.41 - 31.2.42 , Anlagenband Nr. 40, p. 2, for the 
losses of the 17th and 18th Panzer Divisions, and, by 
extrapolation, the losses to the other Panzer divisions in Panzer 
Group 2. The figures are thus approximations. The figures for 
artillery cannon losses are r ough a pp rox i m ation s based on the 
1941 tactical sitution. 

2. Soviet cannons include 76mm guns and 122mm and 152mm 
howitzers and larger cannons. 

3. German cannons include 10 5mm and 150mm howitzers, 
100mm guns and larger cannons. Notes that antitank and anti- 
aircraft guns are not included in the figure. 



176 






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18 3 



In the actual battles which developed, the Soviets had so 
many tanks that the German horse-drawn and foot-marching infantry 
divisions experienced scores of tank attacks. The German infan- 
try divisions survived based on a complex but favorable balance 
among the number and qualities of the German antitank guns, 
the armor protection of the Soviet tanks, the defects in the 
Soviet turret design, and the unskilled coordination of the 
Soviet tanks among themselves and with potential supporting arms. 
Each German infantry division had 72 organic 37mm motor -veh icle- 
drawn antitank guns, which proved capable of mastering the armor 
of the Soviet T-26 inf antr y-suppor t tank and BT-7 cavalry tank 
while surviving the fire of the unusually heavy main armament of 
those tanks and Soviet artillery. The Soviet T-26B and BT-7 
tanks had exceptionally powerful 4 5mm cannons for tanks in their 
large but relatively light weight class of about 10-15 tons, but 
the two-man turrets severely restricted the rates of fire and 
interfered with target acquisition. The bulk of the German 
tanks (approximately 80%) in Army Group Center were 50mm cannon 
Panzer III G tan ks and 75 mm s h or t cannon Pan zer IV E veh i cl es and 
both vehicles weighed about 20 tons. The German tanks were 
clearly superior to the Soviet in C^ apparatuses, three-man 
turrets with more effective target acquisition performance and 
more advanced fire control apparatuses, and cannons which 
dominated the relatively thin armor of the Soviet T-26B and BT-7 
tanks. The technological superiority of the bulk of the German 
tanks over the bulk of the Soviet tanks is a strong reason for 
the effective performance of the Panzer division of Army Group 
Center in the opening stages of Barbarossa. It should be noted, 

184 



however, that the Soviet 45mm, M-1935, tank cannon with its 
relatively large, kinetic energy, armor piercing ammunition and 
moderately high muzzle velocity of 760-820m/s, was able to 
perforate the armor of every German tank on the Eastern Front at 
realistic ranges of engagement. 1 

The Soviets lost approximately 6,837 tanks destroyed or 
captured from 22 June - 8 July 1941, and the factors discussed 
above — especially the effectiveness of the 37mm antitank guns 
against the most numerous Soviet tanks and the superiority of the 
German tanks against the same vehicles — explain the reasons for 
the German success. The Germans lost through irreparable damage 
from Soviet gunfire, Russian terrain hazards and evacuation back 
to major rebuilding facilities, the comparatively moderate number 
of approximately 415 tanks. The Germans in Army Group Center 
with those moderate losses had achieved an extremely effective 
exchange ratio of 16 Soviet tanks permanently lost to one German 
tank. 

Such extreme exchange ratios would not seem to be 
attainable by an attacker in a Barbarossa II type offensive in 
Central Europe. The strategical advantages associated with 
surprise, important as they have been, do not seem weighty 
enough to result in exhange ratios of 16 defending tanks versus 
1 attacking tank. The tactical situation in a Soviet advance 
into West Germany would show the Soviets with a heavy numerical 
advantage partly cancelled by known Soviet deficiencies in fire 



1. See, for example, F.M. von Senger und Etterlin, E^ie 
Kampfpanzer von 1916-1966 (Muenchen, 1971), pp. 513, 516. 



185 



control in tank versus tank combat, large numbers of NATO 
antitank weapons, and anticipated Soviet inflexibility in 
tactical command. One must suspect that the exchange ratios 
could be reversed with some moderate advantage for the defending 
NATO forces. On the other hand, the lesson or warning from 
Barbarossa is that an attacker through concentration of effort 
can swamp a defender with numbers at the Doints of main effort 
and effect deep penetrations through the defending forces and 
into their rear areas, even though the tank loss exchange ratios 
favor the defending (potentially NATO) forces. If the attacking 
Soviet force could carry out encirclements of some NATO forces, 
the latter would be forced to attack the Soviet formations 
blocking their ground transportation system and accept the 
relatively high losses and less effective casualty and damage 
ratios associated with an attacker. 

In the artillery howitzer and gun category of weapons, the 
Soviets suffered equally catastrophic losses in the great battles 
of encirclement on the Western frontier. The most numerous 
artillery weapons with the Soviet field armies were the 76mm, 
122mm, and 152mm howitzers organic to the Soviet divisions and 
brigades. Larqer caliber howitzers and guns were held under the 
control of corps and army headquarters and comprised the 
remaining artillery assets. In the opening stages of Barbarossa, 
Army Group Center destroyed or captured the crippling total of 
4,929 Soviet artillery cannons. The extreme losses denuded the 
Soviet Western Front of artillery support for def en se agai nst 
the anticipated German advance toward Moscow after the short 
rest, rehabilitation, and resupply which the Germans planned for 



186 






after the seizure of the Smolensk land bridge. The Soviet 
losses in artillery cannons taken together with the destruction 
of the Red Air Force, by 27 July 1941, reveal the Soviet ground 
forces defending to the east of Smolensk largely with rifles, 
machine guns, and mortars. German artillery was largely intact 
during the same period of time and dominated the battlefield 
through its large numbers, flexible employment, advantages in 
aerial observation, and the extensive use of the Luftwaffe to 
attack Soviet artillery positions. German combat losses in 
artillery cannons during the first few weeks of the campaign (22 
June-27 July 1941) are more difficult to discover but can be 
estimated to be much lower because of the general success of the 
German advance, the primitive nature of Soviet indirect fire 
techniques, and German air supremacy. A figure of approximately 
205 German artillery cannons lost to Soviet fire during this 
period of time can be estimated only roughly on the basis of the 
tactical situations. 

The ratio of combat losses between the defending Soviets and 
the attacking Germans was extremely unfavorable for the defender. 
Given the relatively more similar qualities of the opposing 
forces in a potential Soviet attack in Central Europe, one can 
expect less of an advantage for the potential Soviet attacker. 
Yet, the opening stages of the Russo-German Campaign in 1941, 
seem to contain the lesson and warning at the attacking Soviets 
with (1) possible air superiority, and (2) probable large gains 
on the ground and associated heavy losses inflicted against NATO 
in artillery weapons captured due to mechanical breakdown and 
light mobility damage, would achieve effective loss ratios from 

187 



the viewpoint of a numerically superior attacker 



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189 



Chapter 5 
The Luftwaffe Attacks 

At 0340 Hours on 22 June 1941 the combined air assets of 
four Luftwaffe Air Fleets struck a .formidable blow at the Red Air 
Force -- a blow from which, in some respects, the Red Air Force 
has not recovered to this day. The Luftwaffe used 1280 
operationally ready combat aircraft for the initial waves of air 
strikes in the war against the Soviet Union. With these air 
assets the Luftwaffe destroyed more than 2000 2 Soviet aircraft 
on the first day of the campaign in approximately 18 hours of 
combat, as compared with a loss of 35 German machines. 3 in terms 
of numbers of enemy aircraft destroyed versus numbers of 
friendly aircraft lost, the initial Luftwaffe attack against 
Russia is the most successful air force operation in the history 
of airpower. Of the 35 German aircraft lost approximately 15 
suffered damage not directly related with combat. The problem 
was malfunctioning of the SD-2 fragmentation bomblettes which 
occasionally detonated while still in aircraft bomb bays or upon 
landing (see page224). If one takes only the losses of German 
aircraft to Soviet defenses the exchange ratio of German aircraft 
lost to Russian aircraft lost was approximately 1 : 100 on the 



1. Bundesarch iv - M_i l_i t ae r a r c h i v , Freiburg, Federal 
Republic of Germany, "Der Luftwaffenaufmarsch 1941 gegen 
Russland", from Gen. Qu. 6 Abteilung. 

2. Cajus Bekker, The Luftwaffe War Diaries, p. 317, (also 
see note accompanying chart 5 ). 

3. Bundessar chi v , "Auszug aus den Lageber ich ten" ODb.L. 
dc) . 



190 



first day of the campaign. 

The first Luftwaffe strikes were conducted at 0315 in 
concert with the German Army's ground attack. Twenty to thirty 
air crews had been previously handpicked to deliver special 
fragmentation bombs (SD-2 2kg bomblettes and SD-10, 10kg 
bomblettes) against key Soviet airfields, a flight of three 
aircraft being assigned to each field. The purpose of these 
early attacks was to cause disruption and confusion as well as 
delay in the take off of Soviet planes until the main blow was 
struck approximately 25 minutes later. * 

There was considerable controversy between the Army and the 
Luftwaffe over the timing of the first air attacks. The Army was 
firm in its position; it wanted to attack at first light to 
achieve the maximum amount of tactical surprise and avoid the 
problems of control in a night attack. The Luftwaffe, on the 
other hand, was tasked with destroying the Red air forces so 
that the Army could operate without fear of Russian air attacks 
and the Luftwaffe could provide air support for the attacking 
German ground forces. If the Army attacked first then the 
Soviet Air Force units would probably be alerted and retire to 
airfields beyond the reach of the Luftwaffe. 2 The resultant 
compromise was the decision to select a few special crews^ f or 



1. Bekker, Luft w affe War Diaries , p. 311. 

2. Ibid., p. 312. 

3. Selected for abilities at blind flying and navigation as 
they would have to proceed to their targets at high altitude and 
before first light to avoid detection by the Russians. See 
Bekker, Luft w affe War Diaries . 

191 



missions with times on target of 0315 --the same time as the 
beginning of the Army Attack in the area of Army Group Center. 

The first mission of the Luftwaffe for the opening stage of 
Barbarossa was straightforward and specific: destroy the Red Air 
Force and its ground organi zat ion.l After the completion of 
this task the Luftwaffe was to concentrate on support of the 
advancing German ground forces. *• These two missions could 
probably best be defined respectively as the first and the main 
missions of the Luftwaffe. 3 The Luftwaffe had to fulfill the 
first mission (elimination of the Red Air Force) prior to 
concentrating on the main mission — support of the German Army. 

After attaining air superiority, the specific missions 

planned for each of the four Air Fleets supporting Barbarossa 
4 



were: 



Air Fleet 4 - Supporting Army Group South 

IV Air Corps 

Prevent the rearward movement of the enemy 

Minethe harbors of: Nikolajew, Odessa, Sebastopol 
V Air Corps 

Prevent re-enforcement of enemy 

Support forwardmost Panzer groups 
Air Fleet 2 - Supporting Army Group Center (main 

concentration of the Panzer thrust) 



1. Interview , Brigadier General Rudolf Loy tved-Hardegg , 
Luftwaffe Retired, Nuernberg, Federal Republic of Germany, 18 
Jan. 1980. 

2. Major General Herbert J. Rieckhoff, "Geheimnisse urn die 
Luftwaffe der Sow je tunion," F lug Wehr u nd T echni k , Nr.8, Aug. 
1948, p. 182. 

3. Bunde sarchiv (Lw 118/4 4a) "Der Feldzug gegen 
Sow jetruss land" , Major General (signature illegible) Retired, 
March 1953. 

4. Bunde sar c hi v, "Auszugsweise Abschrift aus dem KTB der 
SeekreigsleTtung", (1. Abt., Teil A: Heft 22 von 1-30 Juni 1941). 

192 



II Air Corps 

Support the right flank of the Army in the direction 

of Smolensk 

. VIII Air Corps 
Air Fleet 1 - Supporting Army Group North (destruction of 

enemy forces in the Baltic provinces) 

Support of the Army for the breakthrough to the Duna 

River . 
Air Fleet 5 - Supporting the advance of the Army in the 

North Norwegian area-- (minimal forces). 

Mining of Polarnoje 
Air Commander East Sea 

Cooperation with Navy Group North 

Armed Recce against enemy fleet movements 

Mining of Kronstadt, Leningrad, the Newa River between 

Schuesselberg and Leningrad 

Attack locks of the White Sea canal at Powenietz 

Regarding the first mission of the Luftwaffe in Barbarossa, 
which was the destruction of the Red Air Force and its ground 
organization, the following priorities were planned: 

1. Destruction of modern aircraft and associated Red Air 
Force ground organization 

2. Destruction of production facilities for aircraft and 
aircraft engines 

3. Destruction of aircraft with "M" (modern) engines 

4. Destruction of other aircraft 

5. Destruction of the Red Air Force ground organization 

The bombing of the Russian aircraft industry was not 
possible at the start of Barbarossa because the Luftwaffe had no 
bombers with sufficient range and payload to reach the Russian 
factories. 2 For the balance of the targets the overall objective 
was support of the Army. Even the highly successful attacks of 
the first few days against the Red Air Force were not an end in 
themselves. The Red Air Force was to be eliminated so that the 



1. This is a translation of the original German document 
which did not specify the tasks of VIII Air Corps. Other 
accounts are more specific, for example see: "General Kommand 
VIII Flieger korps", Oberst v. Heinemann. 

2. I bid. , also see Paul-Werner Hozzel Rec ollect ions and 
Experiences of a Stukapilot , 1931-45 , (Battelle, Columbus, 1978). 

193 



German Army could move without fear of Russian air interference 
and so that the Luftwaffe could concentrate on supporting German 
Army operations. Why did the German military leadership opt for 
such a utilization of the Luftwaffe, especially when the theories 
of strategic bombing of the then popular Italian air power 
advocate General Giulio Douhet, 1 were still in vogue? 

To start with, one must appreciate the strategical- 
geographical circumstances of Germany. Germany was even in 1941 a 
relatively small country. Except for coal, Germany was resource 
poor with no natural defensive borders. The three factors: size, 
no natural borders, and uneven resources dictated the 
traditional Prussian-German military strategy. Wars had to be 
short as there were not enough natural resources to support wars 
of attrition. The armed forces had to concentrate on quality 
and efficiency because the population base contained limited 
expendable human resources. Finally, because German space was at 
a premium, German military strategy had to concentrate on 
destroying the enemy forces, rather than trading space for time. 
These factors drove the Germans to embrace the theory of the 
Entsc he idung s schlacht , or battle of decision, The classic 
strategy which would quickly seek a decisive battle with the 
enemy. Under such circumstances, the concept of Auftragstaktik , 
or mission tactic, was a natural guiding principle of German 



1. In his book Airp ower , published in 1921, Douhet (1869- 
1930) advocated subjugating a foe mainly by attack from the air. 

194 



military operations at all levels of command. 1 Essentially 
Auf tragstaktik meant allowing decisions to be made at the lowest 
possible level in the chain of command. Germany, furthermore, 
had to make optimum use of its leaders because Germany could 
usually count on being outnumbered by its opponents. In 
Auf tragstaktik , then, the higher echelon assigned the objective, 
to the lower echelon and the lower echelon determined how the 
objective was to be taken. Orders were short, simple, and easily 
understood. A commander at all levels, from squad leader to 
field marshal, was a real commander, not merely a telephone 
exchange passing on higher directives to subordinate units. 

The Luftwaffe's military style was thus similar to that of 
the German Army. Auf tragstaktik was a principle used as much in 
the Luftwaffe as it was in the German Army. The Schwerpunkt 
concept also manifested itself, for example, even in the strong 
emphasis that the German air force placed on dive bombing as 
opposed to level carpet, or area, bombing. The Luftwaffe was 
flexible, aggressive, and tactically oriented. The failure of 
the German strategic bombing campaign against Great Britain and 
the associated lessons were clear to the German military 
leadership which emphasized tactical support of the Army during 



1. Germany's historical position was seen by many as that 
of the bulwark of Western Europe, behind which Western culture 
was able to flourish and expand. Germany was Europe's forward 
defense against alien invasion. This role was dutifully 
fulfilled, in turn by the Teutonic knights, Electors of 
Brandenburg-Prussia, Kings of Prussia, and German Emperors. This 
tradition was also very much alive in the Third Reich and it is 
no wonder, then, that Germany's "Best and Brightest" flocked to 
the officer corps. In a country with easily accessible borders, 
small size, and limited resources, national survival depended on 
having an efficient and effective armed force. 

195 



Barbarossa. 

German air operations in Barbarossa provide an excellent 
example of the Luftwaffe's military style. Lower echelons -- 
the squadron level and even flight level — decided the tactics, 
weapons, and size of formations to use in destroying the targets 
designated by higher echelons. Interference from higher 
headquarters, in general, was kept to a minimum, and aircrew 
opinions were highly regarded. When aircrews reported a severe 
safety problem with the SD-10 fragmentation bombs, for example, 
Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, Commanding Air Fleet Two, 
instantly banned their use except on external bomb racks. The 
Germans placed great emphasis on minimizing aircraft losses and 
battle damage and safeguarding the lives of aircrews. Erich 
Hartmann, Germany's and the. world's top scoring fighter ace with 
352 aerial victories, said in a" letter to Reichmarschall Hermann 
Goer ing : 2 

"Today from this airfield on your orders fighter 
units took off in vile weather in an effort to find 
and shoot down American bombers. The weather was so 
bad that I would have been unwilling to take off 
myself. The fighters you sent into the air never found 
the bombers and ten very young pilots and planes were 
lost without firing a shot at the enemy." 

"Some of the young pilots I talked to in this 
squadron who are now dead had less than 80 hours flying 
time.... to send youngsters up to die in bad weather 
is nothing short of a criminal act." 

Although written when he was a junior captain, Hartmann's words 

are very much in the classic German tradition which emphasized 

minimizing losses. 



1. Kenneth Macksey, K _££££.l r _i:I!..2-i. the M aking of the 
Luftwaffe, (N.Y., 1978), p. 90. 

2. R. F. Toliver and T. J. Constable, The B lond Knight of 
Germ any , (N.Y., 1970), p. 8. 

196 



The Luftwaffe was told to plan for a short war, and in 
Barbarossa, as originally planned, strategic targets for aircraft 
were essentially irrelevant. The general concept of the opera- 
tion was the destruction of the mass of the Red Army in the 
Western part of the USSR. Strategic Targets — factories, power 
plants, population centers -- had no bearing on the outcome of a 
Blitz, or lightning campaign of short duration. The Luftwaffe 
in Barbarossa was totally committed to tactical support of the 
German Army. In the words of Field Marshal Kesselring:^- 

"I instructed my air force and flak generals to 
consider the wishes of the Army as my orders" 

The Luftwaffe's collection of intelligence data on the Red 
Air Force in preparation for Barbarossa was a well organized, 
albeit straightforward operation. The sources of information 
which the Germans used included the following: the Russian 
press, agents of various nationalities, Russian emigrants, 
ethnic German emigrants, the German attache service, air 
reconnaissance, and radio intercepts. All of these inputs were 
analyzed by Luftwaffe Major Rudolf Loytved-Hardegg. Hardegg was 
at that time a general staff officer and chief of intelligence 
for Air Fleet One. A recently experienced reconnaissance group 
commander in the West, Hardegg was specifically selected by his 
superiors to collect data for the entire Eastern Front and set 
up the target folders for the Luftwaffe missions opposite Army 
Groups Center and North for the opening stages of Barbarossa. 



1. Macksey, Kesselr ing , p. 83, 

197 



He was an excellent choice. He was a peacetime-trained general 
staff officer, a pilot, a combat group commander, and intimately 
familiar with air reconnaissance. 

Loytved-Hardegg 1 wa s officially assigned to Air Fleet One as 
chief of intelligence in March 1941, and was charged with 
determining the order of battle of the Red Air Force and later 
the targeting of its aircraft and ground installations. He set 
up a small, secure headquarters in Berlin and started to work. 
The units which came under his control for intelligence gathering 
consisted of two radio intercept sites, a long range recon- 
naissance squadron (Lufthansa) ^ and a long range reconnaissance 
squadron (regular Luftwaffe), and finally, access to R eic hs- 
f ue hrer Heinrich Himmler's security service organization for 
screening emigres from the Soviet Union (see Chart 1 ). 

The Luftwaffe High Command directed Hardegg to investigate 
and answer the questions: 

1. Is it true that 9000 Soviet aircraft are still 
in the Western part of the USSR? (figure from Foreign 
Armies East) 

2. Are these 9000 aircraft supplemented with modern 
aircraft? 

3. Where are the industrial plants which are pro- 
ducing modern aircraft and modern engines? 

Intelligence data gathering for the Luftwaffe attacks during 
the first critical days of Barbarossa was handled by a major with 



1. Inter view , Hardegg. (all of this information is based 
on the Hardegg interview, unless otherwise stated). 

2. Photo intelligence was gathered from Lufthansa civil 
aircraft which made scheduled flights over the Soviet Union. 

198 



Major Loytved-Hardegg Intelligence 
Gathering Network 
Luftwaffe - Barbarossa 



HARDEGG 



r~ 

Radio Intercept 
Regiment 

(Budapest) 



Radio Intercept 
Regiment 

(Kirkeness) 



Luftwaffe Strategic 
Recce Sq . 

(Konigsberg) 

Lufthansa 

Geo. Survey 

Luftwaffe Tng . 



Security Ser 
(Himmler) 

Emigres 

Agents 



Major Loytved-Hardegg Barbarossa Target Planning 
and Disseminating Organization 



HARDEGG 



Analysis 



Targeting 



Printing 



Liaison 



Personnel : 



Chart 1 



1 Commander 
3 Staff Officers 
NCO»s/EM ? s 



199 



a staff of three officers. The same staff also designated all 
Luftwaffe targets opposite German Army Groups North and Center. 

The success of the Luftwaffe strikes makes a convincing argument 
for small but well trained planning staffs. 

Two incidents which occurred during the Luftwaffe 
intelligence gathering phase of Barbarossa are particularly 
significant. The first involved a Luftwaffe long range 
reconnaissance mission in a newly developed special 
reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft was capable of reaching 
an altitude of 34,000 feet, but on one of its missions deep into 
Russian territory, the Luftwaffe aircraft was forced down by a 
Russian fighter interceptor. This disturbed Major Hardegg, 
because the general impression in early 1941 had been that the 
Russians had no modern aircraft capable of intercepting German 
aircraft above 30,000 feet. 

Another incident involved a recently emigrated engineer of 
German ancestry who had been allowed to leave the Soviet Union 
under the terms of the recently negotiated Russo-German Non- 
Aggression Pact (1939). The engineer was screened by Himmler's 
security organization and because of his former employment in an 
aircraft factory was then interviewed by Hardegg. The emigre was 
quickly identified as an expert in alloy technology. He had 
worked specifically in a Russian aircraft engine factory and had 
produced such excellent results that the Russians had paid him 
in gold. Hardegg was astounded that a man of such talent had 
been released by the Russians and that Russia had such highly 
skilled engineers working in the aircraft industry. The two 
incidents led Hardegg to be more concerned about the technical 

200 



capability of the Russians. Hardegg was of the opinion that the 
Russians were not as backward and unsophisticated in certain 
technical fields vital to war production as many people in 
Germany and the West had been led to believe at that time. 

Hardegg estimated the number of aircraft in the Red Air 
Force as approximately 15,000 of which 350 were considered by 
the Germans to be modern aircraft. The Hardegg organization also 
determined that there were about 2000 airfields in the western 
USSR. This information, when presented to Reichmarschall 
Hermann Goering, was not well received. According to Hardegg, 
Goering did not pass this information on to the Armed Forces High 
Command — it was not conceivable to Goering that a "primitive" 
people such as the Russians could have this many aircraft. In 
this regard, Loytved-Hardegg had a private conversation with Lt. 
Col. "Beppo" Schmidt who was on the Luftwaffe High Command 
Operations Staff. Schmidt was aware of a truer picture of 
Russian strength and also apprehensive about it. He asked 
Hardegg to keep his reservations about the large number of 
Soviet aircraft to himself because he felt the only hope for the 
campaign was the self confidence of the German troops and the 
chance that the Soviets would collapse from internal stresses 
with the start of the German attack. 

Hardegg's reservations never had a chance of altering the 
decision of Hitler to attack the Soviet Union. Although he was 
personally apprehensive about the chances of success, Hardegg 
worked thoroughly, and, as subsequent events proved, effectively, 
in selecting targets for the Luftwaffe. The targeting priorities 



201 



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202 



established by Hardegg for the first day of Barbarossa were: 

1. New aircraft with associated ground organization. 

2. Production facilities for modern aircraft and air- 
craft engines. 

3. Aircraft with modern engines. 

4. Other aircraft. 

5. Red Air Force ground organization. 

6. Support of the Army. 

The second of the priorities proved impossible to fulfill as the 
factories were beyond the range of the German bombers available 
at that time. 

There were approximately 2000 Soviet airfields within a 250 
kilometer belt from the Western border of the USSR, which were 
known to the Germans at the start of Barbarossa. *■ Of these 
fields, four in the North and seven opposite German Army Group 
Center had modern aircraft. Each occupied airfield had an 
average of 30 aircraft, and virtually every such airfield in the 
250-kilometer belt was attacked. Major Hardegg's organization 
prepared sealed target folders for each Luftwaffe group 
commander who passed the appropriate target information on to 
the individual squadron commanders. The latter, in turn, 
passed the data to their aircrews. Security was therefore 
compartmentalized. Most aircrews had only eight hours^ notice 
before they took off on their missions. It was felt that more 
effect could be achieved by surprise rather than by detailed 
planning which would entail security leaks. Extensive aircrew 
mission planning was also considered less critical since most of 
the crews were experienced and their training had emphasized 
flexibility. The Auf trag s taktik concept made the Luftwaffe 



1. Intervie w, Hardegg. 

2. Interview, Hardegg. 



203 



flexible and its aircrews self confident and capable of 

independent decisions, and, thus, the Luftwaffe leadership did 

not consider the very short notification times as a liability. 

At a higher level, the thrust of Luftwaffe operations had 

already been established in 1939, by the Luftwaffe Chief of 

Staff, General Hans Jeschonnek. Basically the eternal problem 

of resources was a prime mover in dictating the Luftwaffe 

operational style. In the Spring of 1939 Jeschonnek stated: 

"In the Luftwaffe it is not just a question of 
technology. In the technical field every state is 
always trying to get ahead of every other. But we must 
realize that all states are really on the same 
technical level and that there is no such thing as a 
permanent lead. But the development of air tactics is 
so recent that in the field conclusions can be reached 
which, translated into action could mean actual 
superiority over the enemy. The duty of the General 
Staff is to indicate to the technicians the 
requirements they must meet, but its most important 
task is to make the best possible use of what the 
technicians give them, to extract the maximum out of 
men and machines at the lowest possible cost." 

Even before the start of Barbarossa, the Luftwaffe was falling 
into the mode of being subordinated to the Army. Considering the 
necessity for Germany to wage short wars if they were to 
terminate victoriously for Germany, one can see that the use of 
the limited Luftwaffe assets as they were employed in Barbarossa 
was probably optimal. The assets and resources for an effective 
tactical and strategic air force were simply not available. At 
the beginning of Barbarossa, the de facto situation, in spite of 
Goering's desire for a fully independent air force, was that 
Germany had a highly developed tactical air force which was 



1. Werner Baumbach, Th e Life and Death of the Luftwaffe 
(N.Y., 1949), p. 23. 



204 



largely subordinated to the German Army. 

After the intelligence analysis was completed, targeting for 

the Luftwaffe was finalized. It is noteworthy that specific 

targets for missions after the disruptive and first wave 

Luftwaffe attacks were not assigned. 2 The Luftwaffe waited for 

reports of bombing effects from returning aircrews and 

reconnaissance pilots before assigning subsequent air strikes 

because some targets would need to be struck again, while others 

would have been completely destroyed. The final target list for 

the first wave of Luftwaffe air attack in Barbarossa was as 

follows: ^ 

31 Airfields 
3 Suspected higher staff quarters 
2 Barracks 

2 Artillery positions 
1 Bunker position 
1 POL depot 
The port facilities at Sevastopol 

The success of the Luftwaffe attacks was to astound the Germans 

and the Russians. 



1. Re ichmar schall Goering had a tremendous effect on the 
buildup of the Luftwaffe and was often instrumental in securing 
priorities (raw materials and personnel) for the Luftwaffe solely 
as a function of his position within the National Socialist 
hierarchy. Conversely Goering tended to use his position as head 
of the Luftwaffe to influence political decisions, or more often 
to secure the favor of Hitler. Periodically this had disasterous 
consequences, as evidenced in Goering's boast that the Luftwaffe 
alone could eliminate the BEF at Dunkirk in 1940. One of the 
most painful consequences of having a major political figure head 
the Luftwaffe was the ill-fated attempt to supply by air 
transport the surrounded German Sixth Army at Stalingrad. 

2. Intervie w , Hardegg. 

3. Bunde sar c h i v , "Auszug aus den Lageber ich ten OBd.L. Ic", 
Lage Ost, 22.6.41 - 28.6.41, p. 3, "Angriff der ersten Welle." 

205 



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In the execution of the Luftwaffe attack in the East, a 
special preliminary wave of approximately one group of bombers 
hit the Russian airfields opposite Army Group Center on which 
the modern Soviet fighters were based. The special preliminary 
Luftwaffe air strike was designed to disrupt the modern Red Air 
Force fighter units, cause confusion, and preclude their 
dispersal and employment before the first wave of the attack. 
Based on the results of the first wave of Luftwaffe attacks, the 
disruption wave fulfilled its mission. As far as known with the 
limited Luftwaffe records still existing, the disruption attacks 
only took place opposite the area of Army Group Center — the most 
critical of the three Army Groups. 

In the first wave, 637 strike aircraft (Stukas, bombers, 
destroyers) and 231 fighters (Me-109s) --868 aircraft totals- 
took part in the attacks against the previously mentioned 
targets. Results of air strikes against targets other than 
aircraft are not available because an exact accounting was not 
made at the time of the attack. Aircraft losses, friendly and 
enemy, however, are known. The initially estimated Soviet losses 
from the first Luftwaffe strikes were 222 aircraft destroyed in 
the air and 890 on on the ground, 2 but this figure turned out to 
be conservative. German aircraft losses for the first wave were 



1. It must be pointed out that the entire strength of the 
Luftwaffe was not employed against the USSR at the start of 
Barbarossa. In fact only 61 percent of the Luftwaffe's strength 
was on the Eastern Front at the start of the campaign. See 
previously cited L ageb er ichten examined in the Bundesarch iv 
(Freiburg) . 

2 . Lageber ichten . 

213 



as follows: 



2 Me-109s 

1 Me-110 

1 Hu-87 

8 Ju-88s 

6 He-Ills 

18 total 



This figure of 18 German aircraft is somewhat misleading because 
a substantial portion of these losses was due to weapon 
malfunctions with the SD-2 and SD-10 fragmentation bombs. The 
SD weapons were essentially bomblettes carried inside of a 
canister, similar to numerous cluster type munitions used by air 
forces today. The SD bomblettes frequently, however, would not 
all release from the canister after having been armed. 
Occasionally, as a result, a bomblette would detonate inside of 
the canister, or would fall out and detonate upon landing or 
while taxiing after landing. These inadvertent detonations could 
destroy or severly damage the aircraft carrying the bomblettes. 
This problem was an especially acute one for aircraft like the 
JU-88 and He-Ill which carried the SD canisters in an internal 
bomb bay. Shortly after the start of Barbarossa, the SD type 
munitions were banned for all aircraft which had to carry it 
internally as opposed to aircraft like the Stukas which had 
external bomb racks. 

A sampling of typical German impressions from the first 
days flights is noted below: 



German commanders are unanimous in their views on 
the effects of the concentrated German air attacks 
during the first few days, which were well organized and 
soundly conducted. Thus, Captain (Luftwaffe retired) 
Otto Kath, who at the time was a pilot in the 54th 
Fighter Wing in the northern area, writes that on their 
first mission the units of his wing dealt annihilating 



214 



blows to Soviet air units still on the ground on the 
Kovno airfield. The German bombs hailed into the SB-3 
and DB-3 bomber aircraft closely packed along the runway 
and in front of the sheds. The German Me-109 escort 
fighters dived with the dive bombers or, after 
accomplishing their escort mission, searched out Soviet 
fighters in other areas of the airfield and destroyed 
most of them on the ground. Those that did manage to 
take-off were destroyed in their take off, or 
immediately thereaf ter.l 

"We hardly believed our eyes" reported Captain Hans 
von Hahn, commander of V Air Corps' I/JG 3, operating in 
the Lvov area. "Row after row of reconnaissance planes, 
bombers, and fighters stood lined up as if on parade. 
We were astonished at the number of airfields and 
aircraft the Russians had ranged against us". 

Russian planes went up in flames by the hundred. In 
II Air Corps* sector, at Bug near Brest-Li tovsk , a 
single Soviet fighter squadron attempting to "Scramble" 
was bombed while still in motion on the ground. Later 
The airfield boundary was found littered with burnt-out 
wrecks . * 

The first attack caught complete air units upon the 
ground, unprotected. Within a few days the greater part 
of the Soviet air forces was destroyed. In the weeks 
that followed, the Russian Air Force appeared to be 
paralyzed; only small units, appearing at very 
infrequent intervals, participated in combat actions, 
and most of these were uncoordinated and unsystematic. 
The possibility of Soviet flying units halting or even 
delaying the swift advance of German Army groups, or of 
threatening the German homeland was eliminated. Within 
a few days it became clear that the technical 
superiority of Luftwaffe aircraft, the relatively higher 
level of technical and tactical training of German 
airmen, and the high morale and aggressiveness of 
individual German aircrews were more decisive factors in 
combat than the actual numerical strength of these units 
might have suggested. By accomplishing its primary 
mission, the Luftwaffe contributed materially to the 
great victories of the German Army in the East 



1. Major General Walter Schwabedissen, Luftwaffe Retired, 
The Russian Air Force in the Eyes of the Ger man Com manders , (New 
York, 1968), p. 54. 

2. Bekker, Luftwaffe War Diar ies , p. 552. 

215 



during the opening weeks of the campaign. 1 

In an interview on 23 January 1980 2 / Colonel Robert Poetter 
gave a personal account of the first mission flown by his unit 
in support of Army Group North. At that time Poetter was a 
major commanding the I. Group of Bomber Wing 76, equipped with 
Ju-88As. His unit was stationed at Jesau south of Koenigsberg. 
Poetter's target was the Russian airfield at Kedania, in 
Lithuania. Poetter had learned about Barbarossa and his group's 
mission the day before from his air corps commander Lt. Gen. 
Foerster at a meeting of all wing and group commanders within I. 
Air Corps. 

Upon returning to his group at Jesau, Col. Poetter briefed 
his squadron commanders and then started preparing for the next 
days mission. Poetter was left complete freedom of action 
relative to the tactics to use in destroying the Red Air Force 
aircraft and ground organization at the Kedania airfield. Using 
the target folders prepared by Major Loy tved-Hardegg , Colonel 
Poetter's group planned a high level ingress (4000 meters 
altitude), with a low level attack and low level egress. The 
munitions used by the group's attacking Ju-88As were the SD-2 
fragmentation bomblettes Each Ju-88 was loaded with a total of 
360 individual SD-2s. The airfield target area had been divided 



1. Major General Hermann Plocher, Luftwaffe Retired, The 
Ger man Air F orc e versus Russia, 1941, (N.Y., 1968), p. 39. 

2« Interview, Colonel Robert Poetter, Luftwaffe Retired, 
Kronburg, Federal Republic of Germany, 23 January 1980. In his 
interview, Col. Poetter made extensive use of his personal 
pilot's log book which he kept throughout the war. 



216 



up into three sections, each one being allocated to one of the 
three squadrons within the I. Group of Bomber Wing 76. 

The group's mission started with a 0210 hours take off and 
ended with a landing at 0403 hours. After approaching the 
Kadania airfield at high altitude and sighting the targets, the 
Ju-88s dove to low (tree top) altitude and made one pass with 
the SD-2s. Col. Poetter recalls seeing about 30 Russian aircraft 
at the field. Poetter's group lost only one aircraft, but not 
due to enemy fire. One Ju-88 in a combat misadventure flew into 
an SD-2 which had been released from another Ju-88 in front of 
it. 

Poetter related that a bomber unit to which he had 
previously been assigned, working at that time (22 Jun 41) with 
Army Group South, was severely restricted, by the air corps 
commander, as to the type of tactics to use in the first day's 
attacks with the SD-2s. Not only the target, but the exact 
ingress, egress, and tactics were specified. In contrast to the 
relatively low loss rate for Poetter's group in the North, the 
other group's losses were "extremely" high using the rigidly 
specified tactics. 1 The losses suffered by the unit in the 
South were due mainly to light flak as ingress, attack, and 
egress were all conducted at low level. Target identification 
was very difficult and exposure time to small caliber AAA was 
longer. Poetter feels one of the major reasons for the success 
of the group working under General Foerster was that Foerster 
allowed his commanders to determine the tactics which they felt 

1. Interview , Poetter. 

217 




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123 



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224 



were best and did not dictate the manner in which operations, 

were to be carried out. In Poetter's words: "We were told what 

we had to do, but not how to do it". 

The Luftwaffe attacks achieved its assigned mission in 

Barbarossa of immediately overwhelming the Red Air Force in what 

was planned to be a short campaign. The Luftwaffe did achieve 

air superiority but did not completely destroy the Red Air Force. 

As General Adolf Galland stated: 

"One of the guiding principles of fighting with an 
air force is the assembling of weight, by numbers, 
of a numerical concentration at decisive spots. It 
was impossible to adhere to this principle because 
of the urgent demands made by the Army. In spite 
of superiority and relatively small losses it was 
possible in the east to visualize a point in the 
future where the offensive strength of the Luftwaffe 
would diminish through a continuous exertion. The 
campaign had to be brought to a victorious end before 
this moment arose. The initial successes seemed to 
justify such a hope."l 

Notwithstanding later developments in the Russo-German War, 

the Luftwaffe fulfilled its mission relative to the concept of 

Barbarossa and, in fact, "destroyed" the Red Air Force for the 

planned duration of Barbarossa. The Chart on page222a shows the 

extent of the Luftwaffe's success for the first few days of the 

campaign and especially the success achieved initially. On the 

first day of the war, the Germans traded 35 aircraft for 

approximately 2000 Russian aircraft, and, then, the Russian 

aircraft losses tapered off. These facts illustrate the 

tremendous effect of surprise on the losses early in the 

campaign. It is noteworthy that the operational ready rate of 



1" General de£ Fl ieger Adolf Galland, Luffwaffe Retired, 
The First and the Last (N.Y., 1978), p. 65. 



225 



the Luftwaffe at the start of Barbarossa was only 70 per cent. 
Had the Luftwaffe concentrated its air assets earlier in the 
concentration and preparation for the campaign in the East, it 
could have pushed the operationally ready rate much closer to 
100 per cent. A determination was obviously made, however, that 
surprise was a more valuable factor than mere numbers of 
attacking aircraft. The fact that only 868 combat strike 
aircraft, out of 1280 available for operations, were used in the 
first wave of attacks supports this position. Commenting on the 
success of the Luftwaffe in his diary, General von Waldau states 
that 80 per cent of the success of the attack was due to 
surpr ise. 

The Red Air Force was the largest in the world in 1941 and 
the Soviet Union had an equally large aircraft industry to 
support the Air Force. 3 Soviet soldiers and airmen had also 
been constantly bombarded with propaganda about the 
"invincibility of the Red Army". 4 One can imagine the shock that 
swept through the Red Air Force when the magnitude of the initial 
Luftwaffe successes against the Soviet Union became known. In a 
single day, the Red Air Force fell from the world's largest air 
force to one that could not even maintain local air superiority 



1 . Lageber ichten . 

2. Bundes a rchi v , General von Waldau, Luftwaffe Retired, 
"Tagebuch Marz '39 - 10.4.42" Chief des Luf twaf fenfuehrungstabes. 

3. Richard C. Lukas, Eagles East (Tallahassee, 1970), p. 6. 

4. Alexander werth, Russia at War , 1941-45 (N.Y., 1964), 
p. 142. 



226 



w i thin its own country. Throughout the war, the Red Air Force 
improved, but man for man and machine for machine it was not a 
match for the Luftwaffe even at the end of the war. German close 
air support aircraft would often work without the benefit of air 
cover for protection from Soviet fighters^- even when they became 
engaged by those fighters. 

There are 107 Luftwaffe pilots with over 100 air to air 
victories from World War Two, the vast majority of whom came from 
combat on the Eastern Front. 2 m contrast, the highest scoring 
Soviet ace from World War Two had 62 victories. 3 The Russians 

never caught up with the Germans qualitatively in the air but 
outmatched them quantitatively. Russian production of 163,6874 

aircraft surpassed German production of 113, 514. ^ Additionally 

the USSR was given 14,798^ aircraft on Lend-Lease from the United 

States, of which 14,062 7 arrived in the USSR. The quantitative 

imbalance is all the more impressive because the Germans never 

concentrated more than 64% of their air assets in the East. 

The rigidity of Russian air tactics was almost 

unbelievable. Field Marshal von Manstein described an incident 



1. Hozzel, Recollections . 

2. R. Toliver and T. Constable, Horrido (N.Y., 1977), 
p. 368. 

3. Ray Wagner, ed. , The Soviet Air Force in World War II 
(N.Y., 1973), footnote, p. 175. 

4. Ibid , p. 400. 

5. Bekker, War Diaries , p. 556. 

6. Lucas, Eagles , p. 233. 

7. Interview, Hardegg. 



227 



at a bridge at Dvinsk on the Dvina River which had been captured 

intact by the Germans. On that occasion, wave after wave of 

Russian bombers attacked the bridge with no variation in 

direction or altitude of attack. At the end of the day, 64 

attacking Russian aircraft had been destroyed by German fighters 

and flak. In the Red Air Force, blind obedience to the flight 

leader was the norm. In an interview, retired Luffwaffe General 

Loy tved-Hardegg stated that often only the flight leader in 

Russian bomber formations actually knew what the target was and 

he was also the only pilot with an aeronautical chart. ^ 

The Luftwaffe was able to provide extensive support for 

German Army operations as early as the second day of the 

campaign. This support grew daily as the Luftwaffe mission 

shifted from destruction of the Red Air Force to interdiction and 

close air support, the latter being most prominent during all of 

1941. The German Army was able to operate without fear of 

effective Red Air Force interference and with the impressive 

benefits of Luftwaffe fire support for German ground operations. 

The Luftwaffe, however, insidiously became a captive service to 

the German Army: 

"In a study prepared during the war, the Military 
History division of the Luftwaffe General Staff dis- 
cussed this subject in some detail. Even in 1941, as 
the study pointed out, the outstanding feature of air 
warfare in the East was the preponderance of Luftwaffe 
operations in support of the Army. Indeed, it soon 
became patent that the ground forces, confronted with 
forces superior in numbers, could make good progress 
only when attacks were supported by the Luftwaffe 
This general condition, coupled with the mobile warfare 



1. Interview, Hardegg. 



228 



mobile warfare which prevailed up to November 1941, 
required the commitment of almost all air units for 
close support, leaving only weak elements for "missions 
of a strictly strategical nature". The study concluded 
that if the number of aircraft and missions flown a- 

gainst Moscow be compared with the magnitude of the 
Anglo-American bombing effort against Germany, it must 
be concluded "that our strategic attacks cannot have 
been expected to produce decisive results". l 

The same problem of limited numbers of aircraft became true 
in the interdiction role German since air assets were simply not 
numerous enough to provide the quantity of sorties required to 
produce lasting results in interdiction. Rail interdiction was 
important in 1941 but produced only local results, and these were 
short lived due to the effectiveness of Russian repair crews. 2 
It must be emphasized, however, that in the first few critical 
weeks of Barbarossa, the Luftwaffe fulfilled its mission, which 
was to allow the German Army to operate unhindered by Soviet air 
attacks and powerfully supported by Luftwaffe ground attacks. 

Prior to World War Two, air forces around the globe were 
infatuated with the theories of the Italian General Guilio 
Douhet, and the Luftwaffe was no exception. After the carnage 
of the First World war, military and political leaders were 
receptive to Douhet's theory, which implied that the strategic 
use of airpower could be decisive in winning a modern war. 
Unfortunately Douhet's theories were just tha t-- 1 heor ie s . 
Strategic bombing was not as effective as had been hoped in the 
Second World War, and Germany's war production was highest in 



1. "Die wichtigsten allegmeinen Einsatzerfahrungen des 
Jahres 1941", Karlsruhe Document Collection, quoted in 
Deichmann's German Air Force Operations in Support of the Army . 

2. Bundesarchiv , LW 118/4 4a. 

229 



1944, for example, at the height of the Allied bombing 

campaign. Both Allied and Luftwaffe tactical air operations, 

however, were enormously successful. 

The Luftwaffe air attack plan for the start of Barbarossa 

was probably the most efficient possible considering the air 

assets available to the Germans in 1941. Had the Germans opted 

for a strategic bombing effort against Russian industry, as 

opposed to concentrating on tactical air support, the highly 

successful first phase of Barbarossa might have miscarried. In 

1941, the Germans had no effective strategic air force and they 

concentrated their tactical aircraft on two tasks: (1) 

destruction of the Soviet air forces, and (2) support of the 

attacking German Army. The main mission of the Luftwaffe was 

continuous air attacks against enemy defenses and the hindering 

of the forward movement of Russian reserves by air attacks on 

highways and railroads in continuous tactical air support of the 

spearheads of the attacking German Army.l As the following 

quotation illustrates, the Luftwaffe found itself providing 

direct fire support and interdiction for the Army: 

The Air Corps consequently found themselves acting 
mainly as mere auxiliaries to the Army's ground 
operations, and virtually no strategic air offensive 
was mounted. ^ 

Another aspect of Luftwaffe operations which must be empha- 
sized is that of air reconnaissance. Once can get a better feel 



1. Lieutenant General Paul Deichmann, Luftwaffe Retired, 
German Air F orc e Operations in Sup port of_ the A_rmy_. (N.Y., 
1968) , p. 160. 

2. Bekker, War Diaries , p. 334. 

230 



for the importance that the Germans placed on reconnaissance 
merely by the fact that over 25 per cent of all Luftwaffe 
aircraft were committed to reconnaissance.-'- The operational 
reconnaissance mission was to "furnish information on which the 
Army commanders could base their operational decisions. "2 "The 
mission of tactical air reconnaissance was to provide information 
for the command and operation of army troops on the field of 
battle". After contact with the enemy was established German 
tactical reconnaissance transitioned to battle reconnaissance and 
artillery reconnaissance. 

Luftwaffe operational reconnaissance was normally flown 
single ship at higher altitudes (16,500 to 24,400 feet) to avoid 
enemy fighters. 3 j n the target area the reconnaissance aircraft 
would frequently descend to lower altitudes in order to get a 
better view of details on the ground. Parachute flares were used 
on night reconnaissance missions for visual observations and 
f lashl ight ing for taking photos. Radio reports in the air by 
returning Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft were avoided to 
prevent enemy radio intercept and subsequent enemy fighter 
attack. 

Tactical, battle, and artillery reconnaissance were also 
flown single ship. Friendly fighter cover was normally 



1. Alfred Price, Luft w affe , Ballantine, NY, 1969, p.78. 

2. Deichmann, Operations , p. 58. The balance of information 
on air reconnaissance comes from Deichmann unless otherwise 
stated. 

3. The Germans divided military operations into three 
areas: Strategic, operational and tactical. This study will 
consider strategic and operational to be synonymus. 

231 



requested in the area where air reconnaissance was to be 
conducted. Tactical reconnaissance was restricted to a range of 
120 miles beyond the front lines and the aircraft would fly at 
high altitude until beyond the main lines and then descend to 
lower altitude for more accurate observation. Air 
reconnaissance sorties which were specifically for purposes of 
aerial photography were flown at altitudes of 16,500 feet and 
higher . 

Battle reconnaissance missions were normally flown at 
altitudes below 6,600 feet. At night the aircraft would 
frequently operate at near ground level to obtain the detail 
required by the Army. Artillery reconnaissance had to be very 
flexible due to different types of friendly fire. For defense 
against enemy fighters, both battle and artillery reconnaissance 
would rely on friendly fighter and flak protection. 

The Luftwaffe had an extensive system of liaison officers 
to see that the results from reconnaissance missions were 
disseminated" to the Army. Fielseler Storch (Fi-156) aircraft were 
used by liaison personnel and for air drop messages. A 
consolidated digest of reconnaissance information was also 
broadcast three times daily by the tactical air command support 
staffs located with armies and army groups. 

Both the Army and the Luftwaffe conducted separate air 
reconnaissance to serve their own purposes. Luftwaffe 



1. The Germans divided military operations into three 
areas: Strategic, operational and tactical. This study will 
consider strategic and operational to be synonymous. 



232 



reconnaissance operations had been criticized before the war by 
the Army as often being conducted in accordance with viewpoints 
differing from those of the Army. 1 The Army, accordingly, had 
requested and received Luftwaffe reconnaissance squadrons which 
were specifically attached to Army units. These reconnaissance 
squadrons had missions which were determined by the Army unit to 
which they were attached. 

Regarding the specific targeting of C 3 it can be stated 
that such targeting was not a policy of the Luftwaffe in the 
early stages of Barbarossa and the three suspected higher staff 
headquarters targeted for the initial first wave attacks on 22 
June 1941 seem to have been selected based on Army information 
and desires. Several factors may have contributed to the 
Luftwaffe decision regarding C 3 . Firstly, the Russian 
communications system, transportation net, and command structure 
were primitive by the German standards of 1941. Lack of 
sophisticated communications manifested itself also in the air 
with the Red Air Force where only the flight leader in a 
Russian bomber formation had navigation aids and the target 
information. 2 j n conjunction with this study, four former 
Luftwaffe officers 3 were interviewed, all of whom were involved 
in operations for the first four weeks of Barbarossa, and not 



1. Deichmann, Op_er a t ions , p. 86. In 1942 all air 
reconnaissance was transferred to the direct control of the 
Luftwaffe . 

2. Inter view , Colonel Hans-Henning Freiherr von Beust, 
Luftwaffe Retired, Muenchen, 22 Jan. 1980. 

3. Three were flying operational missions, one was on Air 
Fleet One's staff. 



233 



one knew of a Luftwaffe air attack against a higher headquarters 
or communications center. 1 All of them personally recall being 

heavily engaged in attacks against airfields, railroads, 

2 

railroad stations and transportation choke points. 

There were many Soviet C 3 targets that were destroyed, but 
they were destroyed largely as by-products of larger operations 
whose goal was the physical destruction of enemy forces. 
Regarding communications, Col. Poetter said the Germans would 
avoid destroying an enemy (lower echelon) command post in order 
that they could use transmission from that command post for 
timely intelligence. 3 There was, conversely, heavy emphasis on 
preventing the withdrawal of Red Army forces deep into the 
interior of the Soviet Union, as well as hindering the 
reenforcement of front line Soviet forces. 

In all of the documents researched for this study, there was 
only one mention of C 3 targeting. The targets of the VIII Air 
Corps with Army Group Center included known battlefield command 
posts. ^ These targets were, listed, however, after the listings 
ordering the destruction of enemy air forces and the support of 
forward armored units. General Loy tved-Hardegg said that the 
Germans would have attacked C 3 targets had they known where they 



1. Intervie ws , Hardegg, Beust, Poetter and Rudel. Interview 
with Colonel Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Luftwaffe Retired, Kufstein, 
Austria 20-21, Jan. 1980. 

2. Ibid. 

3. Intervie w , Poetter. 

4. Bundesarchiv, "General Kommando VIII Fl ieger korps" 
"Angriffe gegen Russland" (erste Einsatze), Colonel Lothar von 
Heinemann, Luftwaffe Retired. 



234 



were. The primitive nature of the Soviet C^ system in 1941, 
however, largely precluded attacks against it as a viable option 
for the Luftwaffe. 

From the German viewpoint of lessons learned, "there were 
three main reasons for the success of Barbarossa: 
surprise, Sch w erpunkten , and Auf tragstaktik ." 2 To these factors 
stated by General Graf von Kielmansegg, Beust added the factor of 
flexibility. 3 Considering the limited number of aircraft of 
aircraft allocated to the Luftwaffe, its contribution to 
Barbarossa can be considered as nearly optimal. There were of 
course mistakes made by the Luftwaffe, for example, the holding 
back of resources in late 1941 for the expected offensive against 
Great Britain after the Russian campaign had been successfully 
concluded. 4 The decision to hold back aircraft was made at the 
highest political level in Germany, but, in spite of the 
decision, the Luftwaffe success in the opening stages of 
Barbarossa was about as complete as it could have been even with 
substantially more attacking aircraft. 

The overall lessons learned from Luftwaffe support of the 
opening stages of Barbarossa can be summarized as follows: 



1. Interview , Hardegg. 

2. Interview, General Johann-Adolf Graf von Kielmansegg, 
Bundeswehr Retired, Bad Krozingen, Federal Republic of Germany, 
19 Jan. 1980. 

3. Interview , Beust. 

4. Interview, Poetter. 



235 



1. The Luftwaffe was a tactical air force in effect 
subordinated to the Army. 

2. In the Luftwaffe, responsibility for the success of 
missions was assigned to the lowest possible level. 

3. Luftwaffe unit commanders were trained in the tradi- 
tional German manner and their actions reflected that 
training. 

4. The Luftwaffe effectively eliminated the Red Air 
Force for the planned duration of Barbarossa. 

5. After the elimination of the Red Air Force, the 
Luftwaffe concentrated its efforts on close air 
support and interdiction in support of Army 
operations. 

6. Effective strategic air operations were non-existent 
during Barbarossa. 

7. Air reconnaissance was highly valued by the German 
Army and approximately 25 per cent of the German 
combat aircraft were dedicated to reconnaissance. 

Barbarossa can be graphically depicted as shown on Chart 6 , 
where the exchange ratios are very high in favor of the attacker 
and then fall rapidly with time as the effect of surprise 
decreases. If the attacker maintains the initiative and 
momentum, the campaign is concluded before the favorable exchange 
ratio starts to drop off. The campaign against the Red Air Force 
is a case in point. The air battle was essentially won by the 
Luftwaffe in the first two days, after which the Luftwaffe had 
air superiority and operated essentially unhindered in its 
support of the Army for the duration of the time planned for the 
Barbarossa campaign. 

The key questions at present are how will the Soviets 
conduct a Blitz of their own aimed at the West European states 
and how has the Soviet experience with the Luftwaffe in 
Barbarossa effected their thinking? If the Soviets follow the 



236 




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238 



lessons learned from the Luftwaffe, then, in a general attack 
against Western Europe, they can be expected to consider the 
following possible actions: 

1. Sacrifice total numbers available for an attack in 
favor of the achievement of surprise. 

2. Attempt to eliminate the opposition air forces at 
the start of combat operations. 

3. Concentrate on destruction as opposed to disruption, 
i.e., disruption would only be a means to an end which 
would be the destruction of enemy forces. 

4. Heavily commit air forces to aid in the support of 
Red Army operations. 

5. Improve the efficiency of their own communications 
net. 

If the Soviets attack NATO, will the Soviet air forces have 
the same effect as did the Luftwaffe against the Russians in 
1941? The answer is clearly no. To assume that the Russians 
could expect the same aircraft combat exchange ratio of 100 : 1 
demonstrated by the Germans in 1941, is unreasonable. Large 
numbers of NATO combat aircraft are parked in blast hardened 
shelters. A significant portion of NATO air forces are in a 
constant alert status. NATO's early warning radar net is highly 
efficient and could be expected to preclude a complete surprise 
air attack against NATO airfields. In spite of these conditions 
which have enhanced the defense of Europe, a massive Soviet 
surprise attack could seriously, or even critically, hamper 
NATO's ability to defend Western Europe. 

The Soviets do not need a 100 : 1 exchange ratio in aircraft 
losses, because the Warsaw Pact air forces already outnumber the 
NATO air forces. At an exchange ratio of 1 : l,the attacking 

239 



Warsaw Pact would have aircraft left over to suport army 
operations. It can be further assumed that, if the Soviets 
follow the lessons learned from the Luftwaffe in Barbarossa, they 
will attempt to destroy as many NATO aircraft as possible early 
in the campaign. 

Introspectively one might place oneself in the position of 
the Warsaw Pact Air Force commander and ask the question: "How 
can I best support the ground forces in the attack on NATO?" Two 
factors immediately come to mind. The Warsaw Pact ground forces 
want protection from NATO air attacks and protection for their 
logistics system from NATO aircraft conducting interdiction 
missions. These factors require air superiority and the least 
expensive method for attaining air superiority is to destroy the 
enemy's air force on the ground. It must be remembered, however, 
that the Germans in Barbarossa targeted three suspected higher 
staff headquarters for attack in the first wave of attacking 
Luftwaffe aircraft. The Germans apparently felt at that time 
that the staff headquarters were of such importance that a few 
sorties could be spared from the first mission of obtaining air 
super ior ity . 

One significant difference between the Luftwaffe in 1941 and 
the Soviet Air Force today, is that the Germans in 1941 did not 
know where all of the Russian airfields were. Although the 
Germans did their best to pinpoint all of the Russian airfields 
they did not know for sure that they had located all of them. 
Conversely it can be assumed that the Soviets today know the 
exact location and it is a tempting option for the Warsaw Pact 
Air Commander to allocate all of his combat aircraft assets for a 



240 



great first wave attack against all of the NATO airfields at the 
start of combat operations. Another option would be to allocate 
a small portion of the attacking Warsaw Pact aircraft to C^ 
targets, while the majority of combat aircraft would be dedicated 
to destroying NATO's air forces. This second option would be 
parallel to th» Luftwaffe attack in June of 1941. 



241 



Chapter 6. 

3 
German Spec ial Counter C C perations in Barbarossa 

On 22 June 1941, even before the first artillery rounds were 
fired into the Soviet Union at 030 5 in the north and 0315 farther 
south, agents of various nationalist organizations and German 
members of the Brandenburg Regiment had unobtrusively infiltrated 
across the Soviet border. The Germans had difficulty in 
introducing agents into the Soviet Union because of the strict 
Soviet border controls, 2 and eight Ukrainians of the Organi- 
zation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) were intercepted, in fact, 
by NKVD guards in the ten davs preceding the attack. 3 Those who 
successfully crossed into Russia proceeded to execute their as- 
signments and disrupt Soviet C 3 by preventing the collection and 
dissemination of information about attack, interfering with 
command and control, and gen erally disrupting the Soviet response 
to the German invasion. Near Brest, for example, in the Western 
Special Military District opposite Army Group Center, the Soviet 
4th Army interrogated a German deserter who had crossed the 



1. During the six months preceding Barbarossa 17,000 
trains rolled eastward with war materials. For their attack on 
the Soviet Union the Germans had deployed over 3,000,000 men, 141 
divisions of which 19 were Panzer, 3,350 tanks, 7,184 Artillery 
pieces, 600,000 lorries and a like number of horses, and over 
2,000 aircraft. See The Haider Diaries , p. 964 and Erickson, The 
Road to S talingrad , p . 98 . 

2. G eneralleu tnant a.D. Andreas Nielsen, The Collec t ion and 
E valuation of Intelligence for the German Air Force High Command , 
unpublished, U.S. Army, Office of the Chief of Military History, 
p. 139. 

3. See J. Ericksen "The Soviet Response to Surprise Attack: 
Three Directives, 22 June 1941," S ov i e t Studies , April 1972, 
p . 521 . 

242 



border near Volchin during the night of 21 June 1941. At 0220 
the next morning, 4th Army officials attempted to disseminate the 
results of their interrogation, which included evidence of 
pending German attack, and discovered that their telephone lines 
had been cut. The destruction of the lines had been carried out 
by infiltrators from across the Reich border. Even before this 
time, 4th Army had been cognizant of the interruption in Brest of 
electric power, the water supply, and the telephone system. 
These interruptions were apparently inflicted by Brand en burgers 
who were dressed as Red Army soldiers and who were also at work 
spreading alarm and confusion and assisting Army assault 
detachments in seizing bridges. 

The damaging of communications partly isolated the Soviet 
4th Army and had graver consequences than slowing down the 
distribution of the information on the German deserter at 
Volchin. At 003 on 22 June, the Soviet High Command had 
transmitted a warning about the German attack and directed units 
to prepare for combat and disperse aircraft on all airfields. 
The Soviet 4th Army did not receive this directive until too late 
to be of value at 0530, and the activities of the Brandenbur gers 
contributed to the delay. The Luftwaffe had already attacked the 
neatly aligned rows of Soviet aircraft and Army Group Center had 
captured intact the six Bug River Bridges guarded by the Soviet 
4th Army. Other units did not receive official warning of the 
German attack until 0800, almost five hours after the onslaught 
began. The disruption of the communications of the Headquarters, 

1. Ibid. 

243 



4th Army, before the attack was not an isolated incident. As far 
south as Sevastopol on the Black Sea, communications had also 
been disrupted as a prelude to the initial German assault. At 
0320 the commander of the Sevastopol garrison, Maj or-Gene r al 
Morgunov, while attempting to black out the city as German 
aircraft approached, realized that his communications had been 
tampered with. Communications between Moscow and the Sevastopol 
Naval Headquarters, however, continued to function as before. 

As German regular army units crossed the border, 
divers ionists and saboteurs accompanied them to spread the 
disruption begun by their comrades earlier in support of the 
German advance. The goal of the divers ionists and saboteurs was 
to interfere with the Soviet Command and hinder Soviet response 
to the attack of the German Army and Luftwaffe. German commandos 
accomplished this goal by severing communications links to 
prevent the exchange of intelligence and the issuance of orders. 
The Soviet History of the Great Patriotic War recounts that, 

"After the first shot., .the di versionists cut communication lines 

2 
linking headquarte rs army-to-corps and corps-to-divisions." The 

communication lines noted were apparently telephone and telegraph 

lines. German commandos also helped to seize key transportation 

facilities, particularly bridges, to facilitate the rapid advance 

of the mobile German formations and interrupt Soviet attempts to 

establish a cohesive defense. In Army Group North's area alone, 



1. Ibid. 

2. Histor y of t he Great Patrioti c War of the S ov i e t Union, 
1941-1945 , Volume II, Military Publishing House of the Ministry 
of Defense of the USSR, 1961, p. 12. 

244 



Lithuanian activities seized twenty-four bridges during 
Barbarossa. °n the first day of the campaign, Brandenbur ger s 
assisted Army Group Center units in capturing intact all bridges 
across the Bug River as part of the Army Group's first move into 
Soviet territory. 2 still further south, elements of the 
Brandenburg Regiment established a bridgehead over the San River 
for Army Group South. * 

The three German Army Groups achieved almost total surprise 
along the entire front when German artillery opened fire against 
Soviet fortifications, troop concentration and art ill ery posi- 
tions.^ Behind the border itself, German air and artillery fires 
caught Soviet frontier guards and Army troops in their barracks 
or racing half-dressed to occupy their positions. Many of these 
positions remained empty as German forces advanced swiftly 
through the Soviet border defenses. 5 Elsewhere, the Soviet Air 
Force, its fighters and bombers sometimes aligned wing to wing, 
stood exposed to the surprise appearance of the Luftwaffe. Only 
Major-General M.V. Zakharov, commander of the still forming 9th 
Army in the Odessa Military District, ordered his aircraft 
dispersed before dawn, a precaution he instituted on his own 
initiative without authorization from higher headquarters. 



1. H. Hohne, Canaris , (N.Y., 1979), p. 46 7. 

2. J. Erickson, The Road to Stali n g r a d, (N.Y. 1975), p. 109. 

3. H. Hohne, C anaris , p. 46 0. 

4. See material cited previously in the H is t ory of the 
Grea t Pa tr iot i c War of th e S ov i e t Un io n 1 941- 1945, and Plocher, 
German h±L E.2L9.1' Vo1 • *» P-15, and Erickson, The Road to 
Staling rad , pp.115 and 116. 

5. Erickson, The S ov i e t H igh Command , p. 58 7. 

245 



Enjoying surprise and the associated initiative and 
concentration of effort, the Germans generated attacks which 
displaced the opposinq Soviet units, and, by physical movement 
and fire, jolted Soviet C 3 into ineffectiveness. The Soviet 11th 
Army covered the Baltic Military District at its boundary with 
the 3d Army of the Western Special Military District. Army Group 
Center enjoyed particular success at this point, attacking with 
such strength that the Soviet 11th Army units were scattered or 
destroyed. The unexpected displacement of units within the 11th 
Army in response to the German attack destroyed communications 

between the army staff and subordinate commands, precluded 

2 
intelligence reporting, and prevented a coordinated response. 

Meanwhile Lieutenant-General Kuznetsov's 3d Army, opposing the 

9th German Army, had lost all telephone and radio communications 

within the first hour of battle, and, except for runners, was 

isolated from the 11th Army to the north, the 10th Army to the 

south, and the Western Front to the rear.3 The 10th Army was in 

a similar predicament since its telephone lines had been severed 

and its radio communications jammed. ^ obviously such a bleak 

situation prevented an accurate assessment of the German advance 

by Soviet commands at all levels and precluded a coordinated, 

strategic response. 



1. Erickson, Staling rad , p. 111. 

2 . Histor y of the Great Patr ioti c War of the Sov iet Union 
1941-1945 , p. 18. 

3. Erickson, Staling rad , p. 129. 

4. A. Werth, R u ssi a at War, (Barrie and Rockliff, 1964W 
p. 153. 



246 






The disruption prevalent in the Western Military District 
affected Moscow as well, which failed to get an accurate picture 
of events in the West. After almost seventeen hours of battle, 
the "center" in Moscow issued Directive Number 3 ordering the 
Northwestern, Western, and Southwestern Fronts to take offensive 
action using coordinated operations and carry the war to enemy 
territory. Marshal Timoshenko reflected the general confusion of 
22 June in Directive Number 3 by ordering attacks at unrealistic 
times by partly destroyed mechanized forces which were to be 
supported by a disintegrating Red Air Force. The Fronts experi- 
enced extreme difficulty in complying with Directive Number 3 but 
nevertheless counterattacked westward and contributed to the 
German encircling operations at Bialystok, Minsk and Smolensk. 

In the days after 22 June 1941, nationalist agents and 
Brandenburg units continued to support the operations of those 
armies to which they were assigned by cutting rail lines, 
severing teleDhonic communications and spreading general disorder 
but with decreasing effect. Commandos remained relatively active 
in front of Army Group North where members of the Brandenburg 
Regiment posed as Soviet casualties in two captured lorries and 
helped regular army units to seize the Dvinsk roadbridge over the 
Dvina River for Manstein's advancing 5 6th Panzer Corps. Else- 
where Lithuanian activists seized twenty-four key bridges in 
advance of General busch's 16th Army, and anti-communists in a 
Lithuanian Division at Vilna shot their political commissars and 
turned their unit over to the Germans. In Lemberg, in the 

1. H. Hohne, Canar is, p. 46 0. 

247 



south, Ukrainian members of the Brandenburg Regiment seized the 
local radio transmitter on the night of 29-30 June and spread 
disorder among the local populace and military by proclaiming an 
independent West Ukrainian State. 

The Germans directed an enormous psychological warfare 
effort against the Red Army and achieved the surrender of 
individuals and small groups as well as entire battalions. * 
Consider that 14 million leaflets were air-dropped by 16 August 
1941, the earliest date for which statistics are available, and 
that other means of psychological war such as loudspeakers and 
radio broadcasts were also used. Lieutenant General Wolfram von 
Richthofen, VIII Air Corps Commander, has related that , by 11 
July, the leaflet program had indeed produced tangible results 
and that Soviet deserters said many more Red soldiers were ready 
to desert but were afraid to do so without their own individual 
leaflets, or "special life insurance certificate" as they called 
them. Thereupon the Luftwaffe produced and distributed briefer 
leaflets valid for several persons. As a result the number of 
deserters clearly increased. 3 The overall German psychological 
warfare effort reduced the number of Soviet soldiers in the field 
opposing the German forces and disrupted C 3 in the cases of those 
regiments and divisions from which entire battalions deserted. 



1. P. Lever kuehn, German Military I ntelligence (Weidenfeld 
and Nicolson, 1954), p. 165. 

2. See Captain Bucks baum, German Psycholog ical Warfare on 
the Russian Front 1941-1945 , (Department of the Army, 1953), for 
a detailed analysis of the German Psychological Warfare effort 
and its effects. 

3. See Plocher, German Air Force , Vol. I, p. 99. 

248 



The tempo and surprise of the German attack simplified the 
German tactical signals intelligence task because many normally 
encoded Soviet radio transmission were sent in the clear for 
battle expediency. Throughout the war against the Soviet Union, 
the Germans considered the information produced by their signals 
intelligence service as extremely credible. General Franz 

Haider, Chief of the German General Staff, for example, noted in 
his diary entry for 31 July 1941, information produced by signals 
intelligence which delineated the new Soviet Army command 
structure instituted on 10 July, complete with the names of the 
new theater commanders. 2 Earlier, on 6 July, as Panzer Group 2 
advanced towards Smolensk, signals intelligence informed General 
Guderian of a new army headquarters directly to his front in the 
Orsha area. Aware of this information, Guderian realized he 
would have to hasten his attack across the Dnieper to prevent the 
new army from establishing a coherent front and preventing the 
seizure of Smolensk.- 3 German divisions responded quickly to 
signals intercepts and when the 9 7th Light Division at Lubaczow 
on 22 June intercepted a message at noon indicating the enemy 
could no longer endure its artillery regiment's punishing fires, 
it pressed on and seized its objective by 1400."^ The Germans 
also routinely intercepted Soviet facsimile transmissions which 



1. Generalleutnant a. D. Nielsen, p. 152. 

2. See Haider Diaries , p. 1089. 

3. H. Guderian, Panzer Leader , (Zenger, 1979), p. 166. 

4. Adv_an<2_ed Combat Ope rations o_f the 8_l_s_t A_r_tJ._l_le£Y_ 
Reg iment W ith the 9 7 th Ligh t Div ision, 22 J une- 1 Ju l y 194*1 , 
(unpublished, 1947). ' In files of U.S. Army, Office of Chief of 
Military History. 

249 



were sent by Soviet civilian agencies early in the war. 

The Germans rarely entered Soviet radio nets for the purpose 
of deceptive disruption but, during Barbarossa, there was at 
least one incident of the Germans employing captured Russian 
radios to enter Soviet nets for deceptive purposes. During July, 
the Germans deceived the Soviets into redeploying Red Army units 
in response to a phony threat developing along a wooded, swampy 
area of the Luga River. This threat was conveyed via Soviet 
radio nets and successfully relieved the pressure on German units 
establishing a bridgehead across another section of the Luga 
R i ve r . 



1. Praun , Radio Intellig ence , p. 227. 

2. E. F. Raus, De c ep t ion s and Co v er P lans f (unpublished, 
1951). In files of U.S. Army, Office of Chief of Military 
History. 

250 



Chapter 7 
Barbarossa Lessons and Conclusions 

The research team reconstructed the German disruption of 
Soviet command, control, and communication during the opening 
stages of Barbarossa. The reconstruction was based on interviews 
with German and Russian participants in Barbarossa, examination 
of original unpublished documents at the West German Military 
archives in Freiburg, examination of photographs at the Federal 
Archives in Koblenz, and the use of various reference-type pub- 
lished sources. The study takes the position that Soviet C3 was 
part of a continuum which extends from command, control, and 
associated communications hardware across a transportation net- 
work to the combat forces assigned to field commanders. Soviet 
C3, accordingly, could be disrupted not only by direct attack 
against headquarters staffs and associated communications hard- 
ware but also by the seizure or destruction of the transportation 
system and the destruction of the assigned combat forces. In 
considering C3 as part of a continuum which includes the 
transportation system and assigned combat forces, the research 
team cast the net of analysis widely enough to include factors 
which had an impact on C3 and were necessary for the estab- 
lishment of a satisfactorily complete picture of disruption. 

In the study it was necessary to consider whether or not 
there was a reasonable historical analogy between the existing 
historical event, Barbarossa (1941), and a postulated Soviet 
offensive. The Germans had synthesized various factors into a 

successful military offensive at the beginning of a war in the 



251 



planning and execution of Barbarossa (1941). Those factors are 
listed below and displayed side by side with identical considera- 
tions for a potential Soviet offensive in Central Europe: 

Barbarossa Historical Analogy 

Soviet Offensive 
Barbarossa (1941) in Central Europe 

1. Political state, medium size, 1. Political state, large 
highly developed military style size, highly developed mili- 
& technology: decision to attack tary style & technology: 
large, inferior style & technol- decision to attack medium 
ogy opponent (USSR). size, slightly superior style 

& technology opponent (NATO) . 

2. (Fact) Attacker maintains 2. (Forecast) Attacker main- 
secrecy, tains substantial secrecy. 

3. (Fact) Attacker achieves stra- 3. (Forecast) Attacker achieves 
tegic & tactical surprise. substantial surprise. 

4. (Fact) Attacker seizes initi- 4. (Forecast) Attacker seizes 
ative and effects concentration initiative and effects concen- 
of effort. tration of effort. 

5. (Fact) Attacker Superior in 5. (Assumption) Attacker 
Technology, Tactics, Mobility, Slightly Inferior in Technol- 
Flexibility. ogy, Tactics, Flexibility. 

6. (Fact) Attacker Holds Initia- 6. (Forecast) Attacker Main- 
tive for Six Months. tains Initiative in First 

Engagements . 

Working within the framework of the factors noted above, the 
German Army had to overcome 15,000 Soviet military aircraft, 
20,000 tanks, and hundreds of thousands of riflemen controlled by 
a primitive C3 system. In the first 18 hours of the campaign, 
however, the Army achieved territorial gains which shattered 
Soviet C3 in the Soviet Western Military District (Central Front) 
through the seizure of crucial parts of the transportation system 
and the concomitant displacement or destruction of numerous com- 
mand centers of the Soviet ground armies. German Army Group 



252 



Center continued to advance in the following two phases and 
register the disruption noted below: 

Barbarossa Results 
( Success of the German Army 

1. Bialystok-Minsk (22 June - 8 July 41) (Army Group Center ) 

a. Destruction HQ, 3rd Army, Traumatized Displacement HQ, 
4th Army. 

b. Penetration 500 km into USSR to Dnieper 

c. Prisoners & KIA: 424,000 (loss ratio 88:1) 

d. Tanks Destroyed or Captured: 3,332 (loss ratio 16:1) 

2. Smolensk (9 - 27 July 41) (Army Group Center ) 

a. Traumatised Displacement HQ, Western Front 

b. Penetration 750 km into USSR to East of Smolensk 
(15 July 41) 

c. Prisoners & KIA: 400,000 (loss ratio 72:1) 

d. Tanks Destroyed or Captured: 3,106 (loss ratio 16:1) 

3. General : Germans seize Smolensk "Land Bridge", stand 
ready to attack toward Moscow opposed by decimated, unco- 
ordinated Soviet field armies (27 July 41) 

Soviet C3 collapsed in the face of the deep penetrations, 
immense territorial gains, and casualties and damage achieved by 
Army Group Center. The Soviet command, from the S tavka, or 
general headquarters of the armed forces in Moscow, through the 
Western Front, armies, corps, and divisions frequently lost track 
of its own forces during this time and consistently failed to 
coordinate counterattacks. Well over half way to Moscow by 15 
July 1941, the German field armies stood close to victory in the 
war by the middle of the summe_r of 1941. 

Several lessons and warnings stand out from the achievements 
of the German Army in Barbarossa (1941) and the establishment of 
an historical analogy between Barbarossa (1941) and a future Soviet 
offensive. The German Army completely disrupted and largely des- 
troyed seven Soviet field armies on the Western Front by the last 



253 



half of July 1941. If the historical analogy between the past 
and postulated future offensive were strong, one would have to be 
extremely pessimistic about the chances of the military survival 
of NATO. In a more realistic and optimistic vein, however, it 
can be considered that NATO is in a more alert posture with 
relatively higher quality forces than was the case with the 
defender in Barbarossa (1941). Such optimism is counterbalanced 
to some degree by the forecast numerical superiority of the 
attacking Soviets, the more closely matched technical and tacti- 
cal qualities of the Soviet and NATO forces, and the assumption 
that a significant degree of secrecy and surprise with accompany- 
ing initiative and concentration of effort can be effected by the 
attacker. The balance between Soviet weakness and strengths in a 
postulated Soviet offensive in Central Europe can be summarized 
as follows: 



Postulated Soviet Offensive in Central Europe 

(Barbarossa II) 



Soviet Advantages 

1. Limited NATO space. 

2. Superior USSR Numbers. 



3. Soviets As Attackers 3 
Can Achieve Significant 
Degree of Surprise. 

4. Soviets As Attackers 4 
Will Seize Initiative and 
Concentrate Effort at 
Crucial Points in Battle. 

5. Well Developed NATO 5 
Transportation Network. 



Soviet Disadvantages 

Defensive Russian Histor- 
ical Style, i.e., Poten- 
tially Inept Conduct of 
Grand Offensive Opns. 
Moderately Inferior Soviet 
Weapons, Fire Control, and 
C3 Hardware. 

Moderately Inferior Soviet 
Tactical Flexibility and 
and C3 will Partially 
Negate Surprise. 
Soviet Difficulty in 
Achieving Surprise Will 
Limit Scope and Time of 
Soviet Initiate and Con- 
centration of Effort. 



254 



The lessons and warnings of Barbarossa-style offensives 
would be the following. The attacker accrues enormous advantages 
by seizing the initiative and concentrating his effort at prede- 
termined areas in the battle. The limited space for defense, the 
well developed transportation network, sophisticated and readily 
targeted C3, and the forward defensive strategy of NATO offer 
great opportunities for the attacker. In Barbarossa (1941), the 
Germans overloaded the defending Soviet command by advancing 
across a broad front while concealing the points of main effort 
in the background noise. It was only after approximately 72 
hours of combat that the Germans accelerated out of the predeter- 
mined areas of main effort to encircle major Soviet forces. In 
an instructive twist in Barbarossa (1941), the defending Soviets 
also took enormous casualties as attackers while attempting to 
break through the German lines of encirclement. In a postulated 
offensive in Central Europe, the Soviets may not be able to hold 
on to the initiative so effectively as the Germans did in the 
earlier Blitzkreig. The relatively greater mobility and flexi- 
bility of the NATO forces may come into play rapidly enough to 
block and cut off the Soviets along their main avenues of ad- 
vance. Superior NATO C3 and historical command style could 
contribute decisively to a successful NATO recovery from the 
first rush of the Soviets. Yet the counterbalancing Soviet 
advantages of a significant degree of surprise could result in 
crippling attacks against the hardware sensitive NATO C3 and 
overloading of the remains of the system with superior numbers 
and concentration of effort at crucial areas in the battle. 



255 



The Luftwaffe contributed heavily to the success of the 
German Army in Barbarossa (1941) by immediately gaining air 
superiority, giving the Army the resulting advantages of aerial 
observation over the battlefield, and shifting from the destruc- 
tion of Red Air Force aircraft and installations to intervention 
in the ground combat by the beginning of the third day of the 
war. The deeply penetrating German Panzer columns were largely 
free from air attack, had excellent information about the enemy 
from short and medium range reconaissance aircraft, and received 
powerful, flexible fire support from tactically effective dive 
and medium bombers. The defending Soviets were blinded in the 
air, and harassed, damaged, and slowed in their movements on the 
ground by the Luftwaffe. I_f the Soviet Air Force in Europe in a 
Barbarossa-s tyle offensive can achieve a significant degree of 
secrecy in its concentration and surprise in its attack, its 
superior numbers and moderately high quality may allow it to gain 
air superiority for a long enough period to give additional 
impetus to the Soviet ground armies through interdiction and 
paralysis of NATO movement and mobile fire support at the heads 
of the advancing Soviet armored columns in fluid conditions of 
combat tending to fragment air defense systems. 

In reconstructing the German disruption of Soviet C3 during 
the opening stages of Barbarossa, the research team accomplished 
several specifically delineated research tasks. The tasks in- 
volved the identification, assessment, determination, or gauging 
of the effects of the German attacks in several areas of C^ 
interest. The research tasks, associated areas of interest, and 



256 



the conclusions of the study are the following ones: 



Research Task 

1. Identify Soviet C3 which 
Germans Planned to Attack. 

2. Identify Soviet C3 which 
German Actually Attacked. 

3. Assess Germans' Success In 
Disrupting Soviet C3. 



4. Determine Shifts in C3 
Hardware Being Targeted 

5. Gauge Weight of German 
Attacks vs. C3 in 
Comparison With Attacks 



Conclusions 

1. German Army & Air Force 
Planned to Attack Ex- 
tremely Few C3 Targets. 

2. Suspected Army-Level 
Headquarters & Several 
Telephone Exchanges. 

3. Immense Disruption 
Resulting From German 
Overrunning, Encircling, 
and Destruction of 
Soviet Field Armies. 

4. Germans Placed Little 
Emphasis on Targeting of 
Soviet C3. 

5. Germans Directed Few 
Air or Ground Attacks 
vs. Soviet C^ 



In the immediate opening of Barbarossa, the German Army 
targeted practically no Soviet C3 facilities with either 
artillery fires or raids by special infantry or tank forces. The 
Army concentrated its movement toward strategic terrain seizure 
of which would assure the destruction of opposing major groupings 
of the Red Army. The Luftwaffe targeted three facilities which 
had been identified as building complexes possibly housing higher 
staffs on the morning of 22 June 1941. The Luftwaffe launched 
the remainder of the aircraft of the first wave in Barbarossa 
entirely against the installations of the Red Air Force except 
for a few missions in support of ground forces faced with unique- 
ly difficult assaults demanding dive bomber attack. As the war 
progressed through the first hours and following days, the Luft- 
waffe shifted from attacks on Soviet air installations to raids 
in support of the Army including (1) close air support against 



257 



artillery positions, troops, fortifications, and armor, and (2) 
interdiction of the Soviet transportation network. A small num- 
ber of missions within the category of interdiction were carried 
out against suspected Soviet headquarters and C3 telephone 
exchanges in several larger cities. For both the German Army and 
the Luftwaffe, the relatively primitive Soviet C3 system com- 
prised targets which were difficult to locate. The Germans 
considered such targets as having extremely high priority for 
either attack or monitoring, as the tactical situation dictated, 
but Soviet C3 installations and hardware remained predominately a 
small number of targets of opportunity. 



258 






APPENDIX A 



EQUIVALENT GERMAN AND U. S. GENERAL OFFICER RANKS 

WORLD WAR TWO 



GERM AN 

Reichsmarschall des Grossdeutschen 
Reiches (1) 

General feldmarscha 11 

Generaloberst 

General der Panzertruppe 
(der Flak, etc.) 



Generalleutnant 
Generaliiiajor 

GERMAN 
General 

Generalleutnant 
Generalmajor 
Brigadegeneral 



UNITED STATES 
No equivalent 

General of the Army, or Air Force 

General 

Lieutenant General 



Major General 
Brigadier General 
POST WORLD WAR TWO 

UNITED STATES 
General 

Lieutenant General 
Major General 
Brigadier General 



(1) This rank was reserved for Hermann Goering 

(2) Ausser Dienst , signified by the initials a.D., refers to a 
German officer in retired status. 



A-l 



APPENDIX B. 

Luftwaffe combat aircraft strength on the East Front after one 

month of combat C*) C23.8.411 + 





TOTAL • 
NUMBER 


OPERATIONALLY 
READY/ % 


% OF TOTAL 
LW ASSETS 


BOMBERS 


940 


450/47 


73 


He-lll/Ju-88 


DIVE BOMBERS 


330 


220/66 


86 


Ju-8 7 


FIGHTERS 


590 


340/57 


51 


Me-109 


DESTROYERS 


85 


35/41 


83 


Me- 110 




1945 


1045/53 


64 





*A total of 65 groups of aircraft - liaison, recce, and 
transport 

+This can be compared with 61 groups on the East Front at the 
start of Barbarossa with a total strength of 1830 aircraft, of 
which 1280 were operationally ready C?0 ? O . Two fighter and two 
bomber groups had been transferred to the East during this period 



SOURCE 



Per Luftwaf fenaufmarsch 1941 gegen Russland , Gen. Qu. 
6 Abteilung, Karlsruhe Document Collection, 1956. 



B-l 



APPENDIC C 



THE BARBAROSSA QUESTIONNAIRES 
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DISTRIBUTION LIST 



No. Copies 



1. Director Net Assessment 

Office of the Secretary of Defense 

The Pentagon, Washington, D. C. 20301 5 

2. Library, Code 0212 

Naval Postgraduate School 

Monterey, CA 93943 2 

3. Research Administration 
Naval Postgraduate School 

Monterey, CA 93943 1 

4. Professor Russel H. S. Stolfi 
Department of National Security Affairs 
Naval Postgraduate School 

Monterey, Ca 93943 . 25 

5. Defense Technical Information Center 
Cameron Station 

Alexandria, VA 22314 2 



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